Disappointment means a third of wearables are no-longer worn

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 27 October 2014
Wearable technology will need to “seamlessly integrate”.

PwC has released an extensive report looking into the latest tech craze and found that a third of people who bought them are no longer wearing them.

While the report was conducted with US consumers, PwC said all signs are pointing to wearable technology as the next big thing, and that businesses globally, need to have a game plan in place to act on the competitive opportunity - while taking note of the challenges.

But all is not lost. The research shows that users were disappointed with devices, however they were not quite ready to turn their back on wearables in the future if the businesses behind them upped their game.

Price, privacy, security, and the lack of “actionable” and inconsistent information from wearables were among consumers’ main concerns.

Eight in 10 were also worried that wearable technology would invade their privacy and 86% expressed concern that wearables would make them more vulnerable to security breaches. 

Despite this, PwC said both the consumer market and the business to business market stand to be “radicalized” by the mainstreaming of wearable technology.

As part of the report consumers were asked to rate how excited they would be to experience a wearable technology product from a particular brand and tech brands have the edge. 

Earlier this month News Corp announced it was making a move into the wearables market as a way of distributing content through an exclusive partnership with American rapper and singer Will.I.Am. The rush is on for an Australian telco to get the exclusive partnership.

The PwC report also found a total of 53% of millennials and 54% of early adopters said they were excited about the future of wearable tech and include improved safety, healthier living and simplicity and ease of use among the top three potential benefits.

PwC’s advisory entertainment, media and communications leader, Deborah Bothun, said for wearables to be most valuable to the consumer, it needs to transform big data into “super data” that not only culls, but also interprets information to deliver insights and take a human-centered design approach to create a simple user experience and an easier means to achieve goals.

“Businesses must evolve their existing mobile-first strategy to now include the wearable revolution and deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner,” Bothun said.

“Relevance is the baseline, but then there is a consumer list of requirements to enable interaction with the brand in a mobile and wearable environment.”

For wearable products to take off and rival smartphones, they will need to carve out a distinct value proposition according to PwC. And, because the phone is such a fixture, for the short term at least, wearable technology will need to “seamlessly integrate” with consumers' existing technology.
When asked if they’d need their wearable device to replace an existing piece of technology in order to justify its purchase, 76% of respondents said no.

Principal, PwC US technology practice, Mike Pegler, said inconsistency of data remains one of the top challenges for wearable technologies today.

“Enterprises must forge partnerships and develop IT and platform alliances to deliver seamless experiences on both the front end and back end of wearable implementations,” he said.

The Wearable Future US research project, surveyed 1000 consumers, wearable technology influencers and business executives, as well as monitored social media chatter to explore the technology’s impact on society and business.

Should more Australian businesses be eyeing up the wearables market or do you think it's a short-lived fad?


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