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Wearable Device Awareness Over 50 Percent

U.S. Consumers most aware of smart watches, NPD

January 7, 2014 By NPD
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U.S. Consumers are taking notice of the growing wearable technology market, with 52 percent saying they've heard of wearable technology devices such as smart glasses, smart watches, and wearable fitness tracking devices, according to the NPD Group's new Wearable Technology Study. Among those aware of the devices, one-in-three say they are likely to buy one of them.

Wearable fitness devices, like the Fitbit and Jawbone UP, have the highest level of awareness among consumers. One in three consumers say they have heard of wearable fitness trackers, and among those consumers 28 percent say they are likely to buy a device, according to the study.  Among likely buyers, counting calories (50 percent) and tracking the number of steps taken in a day (32 percent) are the most sought after features.  Just 6 percent say they would be interested in sharing their fitness data on a social network.  Demographically, women (58 percent) outnumber men among prospective buyers.

"According to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service, the digital fitness category has grown to over $330 million," said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for the NPD Group. "The market is now large enough to accommodate a variety of products aimed at all levels of athlete -- from serious performance-minded consumers to hobbyists --a sure sign of maturity."

Smart watches, despite being newer to the wearables market, have a slightly higher rate of awareness among early adopters than other categories.  Thirty-six percent of those polled say they are aware of the devices; however, with few products on the market only 23 percent say they are likely to buy one.  Making and receiving phone calls (24 percent) is the most sought after feature among those who intend to buy a smart watch.  Listening to music (20 percent) and fitness tracking (18 percent) also ranked highly.  When asked what would prevent them from buying a smart watch, aware consumers most commonly cited the bulk or size of the device, short battery life, and an easily damaged screen as the top obstacles to purchase. On average, consumers who intend to buy a smart watch say they expect to spend just under $300 ($298) on the device.

While not yet on the consumer market, smart glasses like Google Glass, enjoy a sturdy level of consumer awareness.  Twenty-nine percent of consumers are aware of smart glasses and among them, one in five say they expect to buy the device.  Among early adopters, smart glass awareness is nearly 50 percent. Making and receiving calls (19 percent), browsing the web (19 percent), and taking photos and videos (19 percent) were most commonly cited by likely buyers as sought after features.


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