Consumers see smartwatch potential for wide range of services – survey

Consumers see smartwatch potential for wide range of services – survey

14 OCT 2014

GfK, a market research firm, has discovered that consumers can envisage a number of uses for smartwatches, ranging from ticket payments and identity cards to transmitting healthcare data.

The findings are taken from an international study in which GfK asked 1,000 smartphone owners in China, Germany, South Korea, the UK and the US if they would be interested in being able to carry out specific functions via a smartwatch – assuming they could save and send data securely.

Navigation, phone calls and apps are the main applications that surveyed consumers are interested in at present, but consumers can also see smartwatch potential in other areas.

Nearly half of everyone surveyed across the five countries, for example, said they would be interested in using a smartwatch to provide doctors or hospitals with their personal healthcare data.

People in different countries, nonetheless, differ in how far they are ready to entrust sensitive health information to a smartwatch – 69 per cent of those surveyed in China said they are interested in this, but just 50 per cent in the US and 43 per cent in South Korea are keen.

European consumers are more hesitant with around one third of respondents in the UK expressing an interest and just one quarter in Germany.

GfK’s findings also show smartwatches have clear potential as travel tickets. Just less than half those surveyed across all five countries say they would be happy to use a smartwatch for this purpose.

The Chinese (63 per cent), Koreans (54 per cent) and US citizens (41 per cent) were the most interested. European consumers were again more reticent with only 32 per cent of respondents in the UK and 31 per cent in Germany saying they would use a smartwatch as a travel ticket.

Although mobile payment via smartphones using NFC technology hasn’t proved popular so far, a smartwatch, in theory, might prove more convenient at the checkout. Yet only 35 per cent of respondents across the five countries surveyed are interested in this facility at present.

The real potential for this is in China, it seems, where interest increases to 54 per cent of those surveyed, compared with 40 per cent in the US and only 28 per cent in South Korea (and 27 per cent in the UK). In Germany, just 20 per cent of those asked say they would use a smartwatch to make payments.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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