Nielsen on wearables: people want more style, lower prices

Though the wearables market has gained solid momentum over past months, wearable technology is still a niche and most likely to be found while out and about in the form of fitness bands or, occasionally, a smartwatch. Nielsen recently conducted research into how aware Americans are of wearable technology, as well as adoption rates and what consumers are looking for. Not surprisingly, most consumers are aware of the existence of wearables, but pricing and style are two big concerns influencing adoption.

According to the research, a solid 70-percent of consumers are aware of the existence of wearables in some way or another, and among them the adoption rate currently sits at 15-percent, which works out to one in six. Expanding the picture of these numbers, Nielsen found most wearable users are young, with 48-percent falling between the ages of 18 and 34.

Both men and women are equal in their adoption of the new technology, and the majority of early adopters (of which three-quarters consider themselves as such) have disposable income, with Nielsen saying 29-percent make in excess of $100,000. Not surprisingly, fitness bands currently sit as the most common type of wearable being adopted at 61-percent, but smartwatches were close behind at 45-percent (mobile health units made up only 17-percent).

The question, however, lies in why consumers have chosen to adopt the technology, and what they're ultimately looking for. In the case of reasoning, it tends to skew towards something related to the device's functionality: fitness band users were most likely to cite reasons of self-monitoring and health concerns as their top reason for adopting the technology, while smartwatch users' biggest reason was the convenience they offer.

The features consumers look at when selecting a wearable device is also largely influenced by what device they're looking at: most fitness band owners were concerned with battery life and accuracy, while most smartwatch owners were concerned with functionality and comfort. The area where both intersected was durability, with the majority of both smartwatch and fitness band owners factoring this into their decision.

All of this accounts for early adopters, of course. Nielsen sought to find what it would take for other consumers — those who haven't yet purchased a wearable — to join the ranks, and not surprisingly, it mostly revolves around pricing and style. While almost 50-percent of Americans entertain the idea of buying a wearable at some point, 72-percent of them want to see the prices go down, and 62-percent of them want some form of wearable that isn't centric to the wrist. Meanwhile, more than half reported that style is important, and that they want wearables designed to look like jewelry.

SOURCE: Nielsen