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Wearable devices see high rate of abandonment

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

8 Dec 2016

Fashion

London - A new survey by Gartner shows wearable devices need to be more useful for widespread consumer adoption. Their compelling findings show the abandonment rate of smartwatches is 29 percent, and 30 percent for fitness trackers, because people do not find them useful, they get bored of them or they break, according to Garner Inc.

Abandonment rate high to usage rate

"Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry," said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. "The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification."

The 2016 Gartner Personal Technologies Study surveyed 9,592 online respondents from Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. between June and August 2016, to gain a better understanding of consumers' attitudes toward wearables, particularly their buying behavior for smartwatches, fitness trackers and virtual reality (VR) glasses.

Adoption of wearable technology has been slow

According to the survey, smartwatch adoption is still in the early adopter stage (10 percent), while fitness trackers have reached early mainstream (19 percent). Only 8 percent of consumers have used VR glasses/head-mounted displays (excluding cardboard types).

"Continued growth in the adoption of smartwatches and fitness trackers will now be from mainstream consumers instead of early technology adopters," said Ms. McIntyre.

Smartwatch designs are largely unappealing

The survey also revealed that the designs of smartwatches and fitness trackers are not appealing to consumers. To overcome this concern, Gartner recommends wearable providers partner with companies that design, brand, market and distribute watches and fashion accessories because they have experience setting style trends, marketing lifestyle devices and have established retail channels.

Garner is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company.

Photo credit:Apple Watch campaign