Why aren’t we loving wearables?


Wearable adoption and use has been a passing interest of mine for a couple of years now. I wrote in a previous blog about the challenges of data created by niche population demographics, false reporting and the good Samaritan effect.

Since then I have been struck by another fact - as many as 50% of wearables end up being discarded in a drawer within a month of use, and this will likely continue up to an even higher percentage as the months pass. Even more worrying for wearables, a Forrester Research report suggested the share of people using wearable devices declined from 21% in 2014 to 14% this year. Even among tech-savvy millennials, this dropped from 35% to 28%.

The fact is wearables are stuck – they aren’t becoming an integral part of life like smartphones. Unless the field is careful, wearables will go the way of the MiniDisc. A flash in the pan which never got the acceptance it needed to flourish. It’s well founded notion that the first/best/easiest technology isn’t necessarily the concept that consumers eventually take to heart. It’s the one which becomes socially acceptable to them. Think of Betamax or Myspace. Wearables need to transition to the socially needed.

When looking for a great marketer in the field of transitioning a concept from the tech-lovers to mainstream acceptance, you think of Apple’s iPod and iPhone. Apple’s success is multi-faceted, but, to quote a Forbes article, it puts part of Apple’s success down to the fact they have “figured out how to attract and retain customers, to generate an enormous amount of word of mouth and brand appeal, and to build a business model, channel structure, and moat that give it a powerful competitive advantage.”

Ironically in this case though, Apple has struggled to get the AppleWatch off the shelves. Have they missed a key piece of the puzzle?

Communications can bring wearables from purchased through to mainstream acceptance, and therefore create long-term customer loyalty, which will in turn create financial stability for a company. Advertisers and marketers have pulled the intrigued masses through the door, what’s needed is for communications to keep them involved and keep them in the market long-term. The company that achieves this will create the moat between it’s competitors and become the next generation’s go-to tool of choice. 

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