Galaxy gear

Most Wearables Users Consider Themselves Early Adopters, Nielsen Report Finds

March 20, 2014 - Written By Eric Abent

Whether you like them or not, the wearables are invading. We’re seeing a major wearables push from a number of manufacturers, from the Gear 2 to Android Wear. Interested in finding out just what consumers think about wearables, Nielsen produced a new Connected Life Report by surveying nearly 4,000 adults aged 18 and over. Of the folks surveyed, 70% of them said they already know about wearable technology, but only 1 in 6 of those respondents said they currently own a piece of wearable tech.

Nielsen found that 48% of wearable tech owners fall somewhere between 18 and 34 years old, and that men and women are equally likely to use wearables. 75% of respondents who own wearable tech consider themselves to be early adopters, leaving only 25% who consider themselves mainstream consumers. Interestingly enough, it isn’t smartwatches that people are buying most, as fitness bands take the largest slice of the pie with 61%. Smartwatches come in at second place with 45%, while mobile health devices round out the group with just 17%.

Obviously, the reasons these users gave for taking the plunge range from device to device, with many smartwatch owners citing convenience as a primary factor in their decision to buy. 35% of them said they bought a smartwatch to “supplement their smartphone addiction,” so it seems like a fair amount of people are buying smartwatches just for the sake of purchasing new technology. On the other side of the coin, fitness band users gave health-related reasons for buying their devices, with 57% of users saying they bought fitness bands because those give them the ability to self-monitor their activity.

Care to guess what’s most important to smartwatch and fitness band owners? A nearly equal percentage of smartwatch owners said that functionality and comfort were most important to them, while fitness band owners placed the priority on accuracy and battery life. It appears that cost and aesthetics could be the main roadblocks for people who are considering buying a piece of wearable tech. 72% of users said they’d prefer it if wearables were cheaper, while 62% said they wanted to see form factors branch out from just watches and wrist bands (Google Glass, anyone?).

All in all, it’s a neat little report that shows there is certainly some consumer interest in wearables. With such a small percentage of people who actually own wearable tech, however, it seems like manufacturers will need to up the ante in order to get wearables to catch on. It’ll be interesting to see how products like Google Glass change the wearables scene, so stay tuned.