An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of digital executives questioned by San Francisco research firm AnswerLab believe that wearables – those futuristic devices beginning to adorn the wrists and spectacles of some early tech adopters – will gain mass-market adoption in the next three years. And, while more than half (52 percent) of that same group saw relevant applications for wearable devices in their own business in the same time period, only 27 percent said their companies were integrating wearables in the short-term, underscoring a need for a range of industries to better prepare for how wearables could impact their own businesses.
Devices thought to have the most staying power were led by fitness monitors, with 89 percent of those questioned pointing to Nike+ FuelBand and FitBit Flex (78 percent) as most likely to gain mass-market traction. In addition, 67 percent of participants envisioned Google Glass as gaining broad adoption, followed by the Samsung smartwatch (41 percent).
In the survey, AnswerLab queried digital executives who are driving product development, marketing and research at companies – ranging from well-known Fortune 500 brands to start-ups – about the future for wearables (defined in the query as “always-on, sensor-based or interactive digital devices” that some early adopters of technology are beginning to make part of their everyday lives).
“Many top digital business minds seem to agree: wearables are quickly evolving from a niche to mass-market. Whether they’re designed as bracelets or eyewear, these devices are a major trend to watch and something to inform future digital plans,” said AnswerLab CEO Amy Buckner Chowdhry in a press statement. “But as we listen to the marketplace, it appears there is a big gap in what businesses see as a growth category versus actual investment in a strategy to meet demand or opportunities provided by what is expected to be a boom in wearables. Ultimately, the devices that offer the best customer experience will win hearts, minds and dollars. With broader market penetration right around the corner, it’s time for businesses to develop strategies that anticipate and support the wearables market.”
More than half of the executives (52 percent) who participated believe that wearables will be relevant to their own business within a three-year time frame. Respondents felt that wearables have the most potential in the fitness (96 percent), medical (85 percent), gaming (56 percent), entertainment (56 percent) and lifestyle (52 percent) arenas. But only 27 percent were aware of plans to integrate wearables into their own businesses.
According to those questioned, current challenges in the wearable category today include the need to improve battery life, a high price point, data accuracy and addressing consumer concern about privacy and security.
More details about the survey are available here.
The findings are based on an online survey conducted in February of senior-level professionals who are directly involved in the strategy, design, development or marketing of digital products or services.