Not on my watch: sales of wearable tech falling short of expectation

Commentary by Peter Veash | IoT NowPublished 3 Min Read

While the possibilities for connected products are endless, things are looking bleak for smartwatches.  Research commissioned for BIO’s latest white paper suggests that just 6% of British adults intend to buy one in the next 12 months.

YouGov asked over 2,000 British consumers for their attitudes on connected products in the research commissioned for From connected products to smart lives

IoT Now and Retail Systems have both reported on the news.

The YouGov research asked 2,076 UK consumers which, if any, connected products did they intend to buy in the next 12 months.  71% answered none.  The highest percentage, at 11%, was those who said they would be buying a smart TV, while 7% would be looking to buy a fitness tracker.

The problem with smartwatches is that they don’t bring anything new to the table... a connected product needs to enhance the customer’s digital experience and be genuinely useful Peter Veash, CEO at The BIO Agency

The white paper reports "Technology companies may be enthusiastic about a connected future but senior managers and consumers may be less excited.  A reality check is necessary; for example a KPMG study of global automotive executives shows only 3% see self-driving cars as an 'extremely important' market and two thirds do not see a significant breakthrough for 21 years."

Peter Veash, CEO of The BIO Agency said: “In order for a connected product to be successful, it needs to enhance the customer’s digital experience and be genuinely useful in everyday life – the problem with smartwatches is that they don’t bring anything new to the table, and are merely an add-on to the ever-growing list of devices consumers use each day.

“What 94% of our respondents are telling us is that they don’t intend to buy this kind of device – it’s up to the big tech companies to create something that changes their mind.  In the meantime, in order to make such connected products useful for consumers, brands and retailers should focus on things like creating useful apps for smartphones, which most people already own.”

6%

Research has found that just six per cent of Brits intend to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon in the next 12 months

Additional challenges for connected products such as smartwatches exist at a national level.  The white paper states: “To achieve the potential of a connected world, governments, policy makers, regulatory bodies and businesses need to coordinate plans and consider collaboration at unprecedented levels.”

Dr. Alex Bazin, Vice President and Head of Internet of Things at Fujitsu, said the UK was 'significantly lagging behind' in smart city development because of a ‘lack of coordinated effort’ and said that ‘the UK government should be ensuring that smart infrastructure is being considered at the planning phase of every new development’.

Given how slowly the wheels of government turn, it seems like the makers of smartwatches may have to wait a while longer before enough concrete steps are taken to make their offering more appealing to consumers.  [The UK government planned to publish a National Innovation Plan in 2016, however as of March 2017 there was still no date set for its launch.]

A speech on smart cities was given by Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, on 1st February 2017.  He commented that there needs to be ‘a change in how government and industry work together’ and said he would like to see 'our urban planners working with our security, transport and e-health specialist companies, so we can present a single UK smart city offer to the world.'

Read more on connected products in this blog post by Melanie Pittham, Creative Innovation Director at The BIO Agency, and also our white paper on the subject.

Peter Veash | CEOShare article |
Peter Veash | CEOShare article |
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