TNS Survey Finds Three in Four Consumers Are Aware of ‘Wearables’; Only 9% Are Eager to Use Them

Smartwatch Awareness Jumps after Samsung Announcement

NEW YORK--()--Despite recent efforts by big tech companies, the majority of consumers are not ready for wearable technology and there appears to be a large gap between current technology and mass adoption, this according to a new study released today by market information company, TNS.

While three-fourths of consumers are aware of at least one wearable computing device, less than one in ten (9%) are currently interested in using them. Although near-term purchase interest did not change significantly, interest in learning more increased by 6 percentage points. For example, Samsung’s announcement of its Galaxy Gear device helped push smartwatch awareness up by 10 percentage points in just the past week. Tom Buehrer, Senior Vice President at TNS explains, “Wearable computing is still in its infancy. The main challenge lies in convincing people of its value and developing a device with mass appeal. The future of computing will be wearable, the question is, which kind of computers will people actually wear?”

The importance of comfort

As the name implies, ‘wearables’ are meant to be worn, and how they feel is a huge part of the equation. Nobody wants to wear something uncomfortable. When given a choice, consumers do have a clear preference for where they’d like to wear these devices; their wrist. The majority (52%) of consumers surveyed would prefer to have a wrist-based device, such as a smartwatch or smart bracelet. The next most preferred place is on their arm with 24% saying they would prefer a device on this part of their body. Given this preference, Google faces added challenges with Google Glass, as only 5% indicate they would want to wear a device on their eyes.

Cost effective and Confidential

It’s not just the look of ‘wearables’ that is preventing broad adoption. Shelling out money for another device is indeed another major barrier. Fifty-five percent (55%) of consumers think wearable technology will be too expensive for them to purchase, while 24% of consumers believe they already have too many devices.

Then there’s the issue of privacy. Nearly a third of consumers (31%) are genuinely worried and cites privacy as a barrier to adopting wearable computing.

Despite hurdles, devices have mass potential:

Despite its’ lack of broad adoption, wearable devices, have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media. Nearly 34% of those surveyed indicated that if using wearable technologies they would do so to monitor their health, and communicate with their friends. Buehrer, concluded, “Imagine having information that literally is right in front of you that reminds you of important information that you should already know, like a colleague’s name or important anniversary dates. Imagine using your wrist to pay for lunch or to buy movie tickets? Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, which we are just starting to imagine.”

TNS conducts ongoing research of the wearables market through its representative US Omnibus weekly survey of 1,000 US adults.

About TNS

TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviors and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.

TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

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About Kantar

Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

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Stephen Shively, 512-314-1810


Stephen Shively, 512-314-1810