Wearables, 'Phablets' Command Consumer Interest

Add two more types of devices consumers want to a category already crowded with smart­phones, HDTVs, laptop computers and tablet PCs: wearable devices and “phablets.”

According to Accenture’s new Digital Consumer Tech survey, more than half of consumers (52%) worldwide are interested in buying a wearable technology device such as a fitness monitor or Internet-connected headwear. The survey, which covered 6,000 consumers in six countries (Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) also revealed strong consumer interest in devices such as smartwatches (46%) and Internet-connected glasses (42%). 

The wearable technology market for some time has been tagged as an area ripe for growth in the coming year. But the Accenture survey demonstrates just how widespread the consumer interest is. 

“I think the magnitude [of interest] is surprising,” David Sovie, managing director of Accenture’s global consumer technology practice, tells Marketing Daily. “The question is always whether these emerging technologies will have a wide appeal among consumers.”

Also surprising, Sovie says, is the geographical level of interest. According to the survey, consumers in India were the most interested in buying fitness monitors (80%), smartwatches (76%) and Internet-enabled glasses (74%), outpacing developed countries. 

“It’s fascinating to see India coming in 30-40 points higher than the U.S. and the U.K.,” he says. 

In addition to the interest in wearable technologies, the survey found significant interest in the so-called “phablets,” which combine smartphone and tablet functions, with larger screens than traditional smartphones. According to the survey, more than half of consumers (52%) who plan to buy a traditional smartphone in the next year said they would prefer a phablet. That said, purchase intentions for smartphones and tablet PCs remained high at 52% and 40%, respectively.

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