Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Wearables Can Meet Aggressive Projections

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Wearable technology is expected to grow to be a $30 billion market by 2018 but while many people are beginning to come around on the benefits, there are still plenty of reasons to be skeptical.  According to a recent report from PWC, 86% of consumers believe wearables make us vulnerable to security breaches, 82% believe it invades their privacy and 72% feel it hurts our ability to relate to other humans.

That said, there are still many out there that feel strongly about the benefits wearables have to offer.  Of that same group, more than three-quarters believe wearables are important for them to get more out of their time with another 74% of the belief that the technology can help to relieve stress.  Many also believe they can offer a number of other health benefits (although these non-medical opinions are probably best taken with a grain of salt).  This begs the question of what can be done to encourage users to adopt this technology and in turn, reap these benefits. 

Not surprisingly, respondents indicated that monetary assistance would go a long way in their adoption.  For every demographic across every type of wearable device, price was the number one barrier to adoption.  While almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents would be willing to utilize a smart watch if an institution paid for it, that number dropped to 42% if the consumer was theoretically responsible for $100 of that cost.  Interestingly enough, consumers still showed a strong aversion to smart glasses (generally the most expensive in this category) even with the monetary aspect absent from the equation.

Brand also proved to have a strong correlation to consumer’s willingness to adopt these technologies.  No real surprise here: Users are more willing to experiment with technology from traditional tech giants—Apple, Amazon, Google—then any other brand.  The conclusion we can draw from this? As the report states, “In a market that is saturated with technology for innovation’s sake, we don’t need more innovation—we need more meaningful applications.”  We need meaningful disruption.  A category that a theoretical McDonald’s smart watch may not necessarily qualify for.    

All other things being equal, users indicated they’d be more likely to adopt this technology if that adoption itself was incentivized.  More than half of millennials said they’d be strongly motivated to utilize a device if it had “apps/features that reward those who frequently use it with monetary rewards.”  Similarly, 70% of overall respondents said they’d be willing to wear an employer-provided wearable if it meant breaks on their insurance premiums.

It remains to be seen whether the enormous projections about wearables will come to fruition.  Until then, all we can do is speculate on the number of Fitbit-toting, smart watch-wearing “Glassholes”. 

We’ll have more on the latest in wearables and pharma marketing at ePharma. Join us February 24-26 in New York, NY.

This piece was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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