With only 20% of U.S. adults owning some sort of wearable technology device, the market has a long way to go to live up to the hype it has drummed up. The future of wearables is still anyone’s game, and a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers has taken stock of the opinion of U.S. adults on what the wearable market is currently doing, and where it will be in the next few years.
One of the most interesting results is that the wearable market seems to be growing along the same trajectory as the tablet market did. In 2012, tablets had been on the market for two years. At that time 20% of adults owned a tablet. In 2014, 40% own a tablet. It will be a point of interest to observe if the trend repeats itself, and in two years 40% of adults own a wearable.
This calculus encourages developers and manufacturers in the wearable market, but unfortunately for the small businesses, most of the excitement for the future of wearables centers around Apple. 59% of respondents said they were most excited for Apple wearable devices. (There is much hype around the 2015 release of Apple’s smartwatch, despite ones from Samsung and Qualcomm already existing on the market.)
VISUAL CONTEXT: THE HISTORY OF WEARABLES
Excitement is also growing for the expected health benefits that will come with a proliferation of wearables. This is where the mobile health market is expected to play a role. 42% of adults agreed that the average person’s athleticism will dramatically improve, 46% said obesity rates will decrease, and 56% said life expectancy will increase on average by 10 years.
To make any of this a reality, there needs to be more work towards a protocol on which all of these devices can run. The consistent use and connectivity of wearable devices to the internet depends on the platforms available for such devices. Various groups have been formed — with major tech companies on board — to collectively create platforms for the operation of all these pending connected devices. InformationWeek quotes Mike Pegler, principal at PwC’s U.S. technology practice:
Inconsistency of data remains one of the top challenges for wearable technologies today. For wearables to be effective across both primary and secondary devices, there needs to be an established frequency of measurement. Enterprises must forge partnerships and develop IT and platform alliances to deliver seamless experiences on both the front end and back end of wearable implementations.
The concern for consistency in addition to security and privacy of the internet of things will be top elements to address if the wearables market is going to enjoy the same kind of growth that the tablet one did.