Sales of wearable electronics are projected to exceed 300 million units in 2020. With Apple Inc launching the Apple Watch in 2015, the wearable electronics market cemented its status as the hottest electronics device. Fashion companies are also jostling to enter the market as these companies seek untapped market for growth.
Passive wearable electronics are often equipped with fitness tracking functionality and attractively priced, offering users a low entry to wearables. Other than health-related benefits, passive wearables are also worn as a fashion statement, influenced by celebrities and business executives. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, was often seen wearing a passive wearable (Nike’s Fuelband) before Apple launched its Apple Watch, an autonomous wearable that also incorporates fitness tracking functionality.
A global survey of 16,300 online consumers revealed that many of these consumers are eager to try out new products and services (64%). The perception of doing well also ranked highly, along with the consumers’ preference for branded goods. Sales of affordable real jewellery are also skyrocketing as consumers want to look good (affluent) in front of others without paying high prices.
Source: Global Consumer Trends Survey 2015 results
Note: A look at the values and priorities of online consumers worldwide. Results are drawn from around 16,300 online consumers ranging in age from 15 to 65+ and living in nine major markets: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US.
Critically, wearable electronics are priced attractively and priced similar to mid-range watches and yet, attract considerably more attention from other people due to their novelty factor. Indeed, wearables offer consumers an affordable way to show off to others and yet, offer a wide range of functionalities ranging from fitness tracking to quick response to messages and email notifications.
What’s next for wearables?
The always-on-hand nature of wearable technology does confer certain advantages over handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones. While it is easy to forget or misplace a phone, wearables are typically worn on the body, which guarantees instant access. As sales of wearables explode, manufacturers will launch products that fulfil specific functions and consumer demographics and needs, thereby creating a diverse range of products. The appeal of wearables will evolve beyond a technology product intended for the tech-savvy consumers which would limit sales of wearables. Wearables are increasingly becoming fashion accessories and thereby, increasing their reach to a completely different consumer demographic - the same group of consumers who are willing to splurge on branded handbags and shoes. Other than vanity, there are other factors that will be driving the strong growth of wearables as detailed on the global briefing (Wearables as Fashion Accessories).