A new study by Juniper Research from Hampshire, United Kingdom, reveals several interesting trends concerning wearables. This Consumer Wearables Market Survey was conducted by asking over 2,000 smartphone users – 1,003 in the UK and 1,028 in the US aged 14 years old and over – about their use and attitudes towards wearable technology. These reports provide the global hi-tech community a means to help them understand what drives consumers to make purchases and how to gage their future products.
Even though many analysts envision wearables as the 'next big thing,' sales have not been as high as expected. Most of the new wearables from Samsung, Apple, LG, Sony, Huawei and others are of a high-tech and high-cost variety. Many consumers just cannot see the innovation to pay that dear a price for a smartwatch – in fact, they seem more interested in lower cost fitness bracelets, such as FitBit. Juniper's study showed that only 1 in 5 customers are willing to pay more than $175, or about £115 for any sort of wearable device.
Their key findings suggest that besides the 1 in 5 not willing to pay over $175 for any wearable, consumers believe that tech brands are still considered the best type of wearables and that fashion and sports brands lag behind. It also points towards a duopoly of Apple-Samsung where they are preferred by 75-percent of those surveyed. Unlike a smartphone, battery life is relatively unimportant and only 4-percent said that a short battery life would deter them from purchasing a wearable. According to the survey, iOS users claim they were more likely to purchase a wearable in the near future than Android users, but there was little difference in the type of device each would buy.
Another reason we buy an item is its 'coolness' factor, and right now the coolest brand is Apple, followed by Samsung, Google, LG, Sony, Nike, Rolex, UnderArmour, TAG Heuer and Ralph Lauren rounding out the top ten. You can look at the chart below for the top 21 cool brands, as perceived by the participants in this survey.
Cool or not, wearables are still a mystery to many as to exactly where their value comes from – if you are a runner, a person that exercises or a fitness freak, then all you really want to wear is a fitness-type device, not a $450 smartwatch. Yes, it may do the same things as a fitness bracelet – Samsung is into that with their S-Health – and a whole lot more functions that many consumers are just not interested. Activity trackers have a clear-cut purpose are easy to understand…not so much with a smartwatch. Until consumers are better educated or the price comes down, high-end smartwatches will remain an expensive mystery.