The rapid growth of the wearable technology industry can be seen on once-bare wrists everywhere, and with Apple's recent entrance into the smartwatch category, that growth is now accelerating at an even quicker pace.
Just how fast is the industry growing? Well, from 2014 to 2015 shipments of smartwatches and fitness bands have increased by 223% and social media conversations about these devices have increased by 1788%.
Wearable technology, what is it good for?
More than just providing a new way to consume information, wearable technology is being viewed as a disruptive force that will significantly alter and even create entirely new industries.
Industry leaders, analysts and enthusiasts see wearable technology as enabling:
- Better daily habits
- Increased performance in all areas of our lives including sleep and fitness
- Improved health through monitoring and preventive suggestions
- Improved interactions with others (particularly with devices like Google Glass)
However, for much of this exciting change to happen, these devices, and the systems they connect to, will have to intelligently interpret and act on the data. Unfortunately, we're not quite there yet.
So then, given where we are, how are the lofty expectations of the industry matching up with the perceptions and use cases of early adopters of these devices?
What consumers think about wearable tech
Much of the industry conversation about wearable tech continues to focus on what it could mean in the future, but what do consumers actually think of the technology in the present?
For starters, if consumers are in-sync with the vision of leaders in the wearable tech industry, they're certainly not talking about it on social media.
While topics like healthcare applications and data privacy concerns are being discussed at length by the wearable tech industry they come up in only a small fraction of consumer conversations (see above).
Instead, most conversations focus on the convenience factor and basic functions like counting steps.
From this it's clear that although consumers seem eager to embrace wearable technology, they are only focusing on very elementary applications for these devices.
Going even deeper into consumer perceptions
In our recent market research report, The State of the Wearable Technology Industry, we take an in-depth look at consumer perceptions of wearable tech and the brands that are making the biggest impact.
Highlights of the report include:
- Price sensitivity across key audience segments
- Which brands are winning both in popularity and favorability
- Why feeling ‘naked’ is a common sentiment among wearable users
- How device preferences differ between LGBT, Fitness Enthusiasts, and the general population
You can download the report, for free, in the section below.