Wearables – what kind of a word is that? Up until a couple years ago, the first thing that might come to mind is Victoria's Secret…my how times have quickly changed. Once a small focus of fitness devices to measure distance run, or walked – they basically consisted of pedometers or ways to measure your pulse rate. Wearables are starting to explode in our culture and at a tremendous rate, especially in the smartwatch field. There are true wearable clothes as well – you can get anything from a bra-like device to socks and shoes, all designed to measure some function and report back to you or your doctor. However, the most explosive area remains the watch and/or bracelet devices – because we love jewelry and fashion and we are willing to spend a bundle on doodads that make us stand out from the crowd.
A study was done by the NPD Group in Canada concerning the purchase of wearable technology and how Canadians perceive it. It also looked at their inclination toward purchasing this new line of fashion wearables. The study shows that two-thirds of Canadians were aware of the technology – especially among males in the 16 – 24 age range and those with a household income of greater than $70,000. One in four put a fitness tracker at the top of their lists, especially women; however, with their main concern for losing weight, a calorie counter was enough for them. In comparison, smartwatches and glasses topped the men's list and they expect those devices to have the same features of their smartphone. Mark Haar, director of Consumer Electronics at The NPD Group said, "Functionality is important to consumers, and brands are taking note, but depending on the device, features like making and receiving phone calls, texting, GPS navigation, taking photos or videos, and surfing the Internet may not be what drives shoppers to the checkout stand. Since it's a priority for Canadians to be able to wear a piece of technology that integrates seamlessly into their wardrobes, manufacturers may have more success gaining market share if they focus on style as a point of differentiation from competitors."
Although Canadians want their wearables to make a fashion statement, they are only willing to pay so much for wearable technology and draw the line at certain price ranges. A full forty-percent of consumers cite the cost as the main barrier preventing them from purchasing wearables, especially with smart-glasses, such as Google Glass at $1,500 is excessive, although, rumors have the retail price of $350-$500 when they are finally sold in retail stores. While cost and style play a significant role in Canadian's decisions on purchasing wearables, comfort is also cited as being important. Fitness trackers were described as being too heavy, bulky or fragile. The concern with smart glasses is that they will be unattractive or distracting – most people that wear regular prescription glasses sometimes forget they even have them on. When it comes to smartwatches, many worry about them being too big, having short battery life and the display's durability.
Many Canadians have already purchased some form of wearable technology, while others are trying to navigate and understand the concept and their usefulness. Some of these products, such as Glass are so far ahead of what most people have seen, an understanding of the product is necessary before they will entertain the idea of making an expensive purchase. Please talk to us on our Google+ Page and let us know where you stand on wearables – have you already made a purchase, are you contemplating a purchase or have you no interest…as always, we would love to hear from you.