Are wearables all they’re cracked up to be? As convenient as a smartwatch is for providing alerts, or a fitness band for keeping us in the loop on how far we’ve walked, do we really want to wear these devices? Some are bulky, some have poor battery life, some make us itch — and eventually, most Americans just stop wearing the wearables they’ve purchased. At least, according to a new study published by Endeavour Partners.
The study found that one in ten Americans over the age of 18 have purchased a wearable device. That’s a really low figure, and it shows the potential growth as companies create new products to tap into the market. But there’s a problem with people actively using them for the long term, Endeavour Partners concluded.
In fact, the firm said that “more than half of U.S. cosnumers who have owned a modern activity tracker no longer use it.” That’s an incredible statistic. Why did consumers ditch their wearable? Was it irritating? Did it fail to live up to the hype? It sure sounds like it, in fact, the company also found that “a third of U.S. consumers who have owned one stopped using the device within six months of receiving it.” Endeavour Partners suggests that this is an area that needs to be a major focus for wearable OEMs in the future.
“It’s not enough to sync with, link to, or work alongside one of the current devices on the market, or to partner with one of the many startups to design an even better device,” the report said. “Designing a strategy to ensure sustained engagement is the key to long-term success in this highly competitive space.”
Endeavour lines up nine ways that companies can help create a wearable that people are going to want to continue to use: OEMs need to work on creating a message as to why consumers should use a wearable. Next, they should focus on design, an easy setup experience, fit and comfort, quality, the user experience, creating APIs to integrate into other products and services, creating a real utility, and developing a lifestyle compatibility that doesn’t require a user to remove the wearable frequently to shower or charge.
There are other ways to keep users coming back to their wearable, the company says, like creating habits, reinforcing goals a user might want to achieve and more. So far, it sounds like Pebble has done a really good job in a lot of these areas, and I’m curious which products people are ditching the most. Do you own a smartwatch or fitness band and, if so, do you still wear it? I have a Fitbit Force that I enjoy, but I don’t wear it daily.