Brands need to get serious about wearables

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 8 October 2015

Nearly half of Australians aged between 18-64 have used a wearable device and that same number again intend to buy a wearable in the next six months, according to a new report from IPG's mobile specialist agency Mnet.

The study found that 35% of all people own at least one device, jumping to 39% when looking at the 18-64 age group. When looking at the intention to purchase, 39% of all people are looking to buy a wearable device in the next six months. The report also noted that when it comes to ownership, these statistics were on average around 20% lower than stated usage, implying both trial and sharing of devices between multiple people.

The types of wearables that Mnet looked at ranged from everything from smartwatches to virtual reality devices such as Oculus Rift and even connected jewellery. Newly minted CEO of the business Scott Player told AdNews with the rise of any new technology comes the rise of the opportunity for brands to interact with consumers.

“Types of wearables are wide and varied and what they are being used for is even broader,” Player said.

“The research highlighted that fitness is the biggest category to date, however you’ll see penetration of smartwatches increase over the next six months – especially as it will be popular choice for Christmas gifts.

“Concurrent to the increase in smartwatch penetration is their capability to run standalone and more powerful apps – which will provide additional opportunity for brands looking to utilise this tech,” Player added.

When brands are thinking about experimenting with wearables they need to be thinking specifically about what they are offering consumers.

“If brands are considering wearables, I think there are two main approaches: Provide utility or engagement,” Player said.

“A brand would typically need to produce their own content, apps or platforms to engage consumers via wearables,” he added.

A previous study conducted by PwC, out of the US, previously said that a third of people who bought wearables no longer wear them, and consumers flagged their concerns as being price, privacy, security, and the lack of “actionable” and inconsistent information from wearables.

Player explained that similar to apps, if content on wearables isn't providing consumers with benefits they risk being left to gather dust.

“As we’ve seen with apps – those that provide good utility, or good engagement, are kept and used often. Those apps that don’t do either, will lay dormant or be deleted quickly.

“Consumers will ‘trial and adopt or discard’ even quicker with wearables than with apps, especially if the product, content or app doesn’t quickly meet their expectations or the product promise,” he said.

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