What To Wear? Americans Curious, Not Convinced About Wearable Tech

All the talk about Samsung/Apple/Google’s connected watches, fitness bands and Google’s familiar Glass eyewear have left Americans curious about the prospect of wearable technology, if not quite ready to buy in. According to a Harris interactive poll of over 2500 adults in late September, 53% expressed no interest at all in computer-based watches/wristbands, let alone Glass-style head or eyewear, to which 63% were unmoved. That left only about 27% who were very or somewhat interested in an advanced watch and 20% in a wearable eyepiece.

Not surprisingly, the curiosity about wearable technology broke decidedly along both gender and age demos. On watches or wristbands, only 40% of women broke the “at least a little bit interested” minimal threshold compared to 52% of men. When it came to popping a device on the head or glasses, women generally are clearly not into geekwear, with only 30% showing minimal or better interest compared to 44% of men.

Once again, this is going to be a generational thing. Across the board the so-called “echo-boomers” ages 18-36 were far more into the idea of donning computers. On the question of wrist wear, 63% were at least a little curious, compared to only 47% of Gen-X (37-48). Even for headsets/eyewear, the youngest adult segment was at least a little interested (52%) and 30% were in the “very/somewhat” category.

And the more expensive the toys, the more affluent the appeal. For all wearable tech categories, respondents with household income over $100,000 a year expressed the most interest in all types of wearable computers.

They are curious -- but not convinced of a future for wearable tech. Almost half (49%) agreed to some degree that the trend is really a fad, although the same number agreed it would become commonplace.

Samsung released its first-generation Galaxy Gear watch to mixed reviews. the second generation of fitness bands hit the market in the last month. And rumors of an impending Google watch and Apple iWatch next year helped pique interest.

Juniper Research recently projected that the wearable technology market is already at $1.4 billion worldwide and will reach $19 billion by 2018. The company says that in addition to opportunity for hardware makers, the new age of wearable devices will be a boon for app developers. Health, sports, fitness and communication areas will leverage these sensor-based gadgets for new services.   


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