37% Drop Wearables, Most Within Months: Accuracy Cited

As the world of wearables continues to grow, a major concern from consumers buying and using the devices is sensor accuracy.

Of those who do not own a wearable, the majority (58%) would consider buying one if they trusted the accuracy of the device, according to a new study by the MEMS and Sensors Industry Group and sensor company Valencell.

The study, comprising 706 U.S. adults found that most (63%) consumers rank accuracy as a critical feature in wearables and even more (73%) say that one day wearable technology accuracy will be able to directly affect their health.

"Accurate and interesting insights are critical to the success of the wearable industry, and are the biggest drivers of growth today," said Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell.

"More consumers than ever before are looking to biometric wearables to monitor their health and fitness, and wearables that cannot be trusted for accuracy will ultimately lose out to wearables that have been properly validated." 

In addition to accuracy, the study found that consumers are most interested in measuring stress levels. Here are the new areas consumers are most interested in monitoring:

  • 55% -- Stress levels
  • 48% -- Hydration
  • 46% -- Blood pressure
  • 38% -- Sunlight / UV exposure
  • 35% -- Key vitamin and supplement levels

Although most (80%) of those who own a wearable say it has positively affected their life, more than a third (37%) have discontinued using them, with more than half (54%) of those stopping within the first three months.

Having to continually recharge the batteries in wearables leads the list of reasons consumers remove the devices. Here are the reasons for discontinuing use:

  • 40% -- Too much of a hassle to continually recharge
  • 29% -- Not accurate enough (didn't trust the readings)
  • 26% -- Uncomfortable to wear
  • 24% -- Did not provide continually interesting insights

The future of wearables looks promising, according to Karen Lightman, executive director at the MEMS and Sensors Industry Group. “Beyond accuracy, sensors make wearables more interesting because they literally sense the world around us,” said Lightman.

“With so much advanced functionality now at their disposal, I am convinced that wearables designers will introduce new and compelling products that consumers will consider ‘must-have’ rather than just 'nice-to-own.’”

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