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Friday, 21 March 2014 07:54

Nielsen finds people actually want wearables

Written by Peter Scott



Consider themselves early adopters

A new Nielsen survey has found that many consumers are interested in wearables and that sales are picking up. Wearable smart devices aren't exactly new and hardware makers are still struggling to overcome numerous limitations, but the basic idea is sound and the fact that the current crop of wearables are hardly mature products does not deter many people.

Nielsen surveyed 4,000 adults and found that 70 percent of them already knew of wearable gear and one in six said they already own a wearable tech product, although the latter figure sounds quite high. Unsurprisingly 18- to 34-year-olds are the age group that thinks wearables are hot. Men and women are just as likely to like wearables, which is a positive development. In the past women were not too keen to embrace geeky tech such as smartphones, but this no longer appears to be the case. Smart gadgets are no longer boring and geeky, they are cool and stylish. Well, at least most of them are.

Three quarters of respondents who bought into the wearable hype consider themselves early adopters. Most people are interested in smart wristbands rather than watches, 61 percent said they are buying wristbands, while smartwatches were the weapon of choice for 45 percent of respondents. Health devices came in third at 17 percent.

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Many respondents were quite candid, so 35 percent admitted that they bought a smartwatch because they are addicted to smartphones. However, consumers going after smart wristbands cited health concerns as the main factor behind the purchase.

Things are picking up and sales of wearable gadgets are expected to see strong growth this year and beyond. Pebble has just announced that it sold 400,000 smartwatches last year. There is no word on shipment figures from Samsung and Sony, which sell somewhat pricier devices. Qualcomm has entered the game and a number of companies will launch wearables this year. Google's Android Wear should help, as it will bring about more standardisation. Motorola and LG are already on board and they are not alone. MediaTek is playing with wearables, too.

Nielsen found that consumers want cheaper wearables, new form factors and better looking devices. Battery life remains an issue, too. Like we said, wearables are still not mature products and there is a lot of room for improvement and innovation.

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