Wearables seen as useless and expensive – Gartner - Mobile World Live

Wearables seen as useless and expensive – Gartner

07 DEC 2016

The market for wearables is faltering due to consumer attitudes the devices are useless, expensive, unattractive, unreliable or boring, according to a Gartner study.

Its survey of 9,600 consumers across the US, UK and Australia found 29 per cent of smartwatch owners no longer use their device, while 30 per cent of fitness trackers had been abandoned. Common reasons cited included customers no longer finding them useful, boredom, or the device was broken.

Analysts at the firm conceded that while the industry was still at an early stage, manufacturers need to create more compelling end-user propositions to drive demand and encourage continued usage from those who had already made purchases.

Gartner research director Angela McIntyre said: “Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry. The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate.

“To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.”

Of those surveyed, 10 per cent owned a smartwatch, 19 per cent had previously bought a fitness tracker, and 8 per cent had used VR glasses or other head-mounted devices. Respondents who avoided purchasing wearable devices cited the high price-point given their perceived usefulness, and unattractive design among the barriers to adoption.

The report findings jibe with recent comments from wearables giant Samsung. In an interview with Mobile World Live, Gregory Lee, president of Samsung Electronics, North America, admitted there is work to be done to convince people that such devices can solve real problems for them.

Comparing the three regions, Gartner found smartwatch and fitness tracker penetration is highest in the US, with 12 per cent owning a smartwatch and 23 per cent having a fitness device. Australia had a higher rate of fitness tracker sales than the UK (19 per cent compared to 17 per cent), while more watches had been sold in the UK (9 per cent versus 7 per cent in Australia).

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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