Wearables still a novelty but ripe for growth, says PwC report

22 Oct 2014

One in five Americans currently own a wearable device but that figure is predicted to rise, according to a new report from professional services network PwC.

The report, titled The Wearable Future, cited the rise in popularity of tablets as a precedent. Twenty per cent of American adults owned a tablet in 2012 but that figure has since grown to more than 40pc.

The report also investigated consumers’ attitudes and behaviours toward wearable technology, which includes smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness bands and smart clothing. It found 33pc of surveyed consumers who bought a device more than a year ago no longer use it or use it infrequently. Eighty-two per cent of respondents expressed privacy concerns, while 86pc felt wearables would make them more vulnerable to security breaches. 

However, 53pc of millennials and 54pc of early adopters expressed their excitement about the future of wearable tech. The ability for consumers to keep their children safe, live healthier lives and the simplicity of the devices to use were among the cited benefits.

“Businesses must evolve their existing mobile-first strategy to now include the wearable revolution and deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner,” said Deborah Bothun, PwC’s US advisory entertainment, media and communications leader.

“Relevance is the baseline, but then there is a consumer list of requirements to enable interaction with the brand in a mobile and wearable environment.”

PwC has summarised the report in a short video released via YouTube.

Black Eyed Peas rapper Will.i.am recently became the latest entrepreneur to enter the wearable tech market with the launch of the Puls. The device will deliver many of the usual functions of a smartphone, including calls, texts, email and music. Unlike a smartwatch, however, the Puls has the ability to make and receive calls independently of any smartphone.

“Ours doesn’t need a phone for it to function,” said Will.i.am. “Why do you want to have a device that doesn’t have a phone? The gym. I’m tired of having the friggin’ music experience tangled with wires, and my device, and I have to figure out where to put my phone. We all know, in a gym, it hasn’t been thought out right. I want to have a device on my wrist where it’s free, and I can work out with my Bluetooth and I’m straight.”

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic