Clear Marketing Needed to Drive Sales of Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers

CCS Insight survey shows 75% of consumers are aware of smartwatches and fitness trackers, but less than 8% own and use them

Tech analyst firm CCS Insight has called on the consumer electronics industry to better articulate the benefits of smartwatches and wearable devices to the public if they are to survive the hype surrounding wearable technology.

The research included a survey of 4,000 people in the UK, the US, China and Brazil on their perceptions of wearable technology including usage patterns, awareness and current ownership. It reveals that a lack of consumer understanding is contributing to poor sales and low usage of wearable devices to date.

Of those surveyed, an impressive 75% are aware of smartwatches and fitness trackers signalling strong potential for the segment. However this is currently not being translated into meaningful ownership and usage. Only 5% of people CCS Insight surveyed own and use a fitness tracker, with smartwatches lagging slightly behind at just 3%.

Many people said they hadn’t bought a smartwatch because they didn’t see the value of them and the prices were too high. A large number of respondents also indicated that measuring sporting activity was of less interest than tracking health and well-being factors such as sleep and heart rate. The results not only demonstrate a need for the industry to better communicate the benefits of smartwatches and wearables, but also to market their products in ways that suit users’ preferences and extend their market reach.

George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight, said “While global awareness of wearable devices is very high, consumers’ overall knowledge of the products and subsequent conversion to sales are very low. Consumer electronics companies primed for success urgently need to address the gap between the public’s awareness and ownership by clearly communicating the benefits wearables can offer.”

Key findings of the survey are included below.

Awareness of wearables is high, but few have bought or used one

  • In the UK and the US, 75% of respondents are aware of smartwatches, compared with 63% in CCS Insight’s 2013 survey. But only 3% of people own and use one, while 2% own one but no longer use it.
  • In the UK and the US, 75% of respondents are aware of fitness trackers, an increase on the 54% who said they were aware of them in CCS Insight’s 2013 survey. But only 6% are using them, while 7% own one but no longer use it.

People don’t understand the benefits of smartwatches

  • The top reasons for not purchasing a smartwatch were that people don’t see the point (cited by 34%) and high prices (mentioned by 29%).
  • Those planning to get a smartwatch say they will do so because they are interested in technology (50%) and some of the functions appeal to them (49%).

The term “fitness tracker” doesn’t fully describe what consumers are looking for

  • CCS Insight asked consumers who were not aware of fitness trackers what they would use one for. Most were less concerned about measuring physical activity but would be interested in tracking health and well-being.
  • 37% of respondents were interested in sleep, heart rate, temperature or blood pressure, while a quarter were interested in counting calories.

Fitness trackers are under threat from smartwatches and smartphones

  • Of those fitness tracker users who said they don’t plan to upgrade their existing wearable device, 22% said they’d use a smartphone to do perform the same function and 14% said they plan to use a smartwatch.
  • There’s a high likelihood the fitness tracker market will be cannibalised by smartwatches or subsumed into smartphones.

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global analyst company focussing on the mobile, Internet and media industries. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. Follow CCS Insight on Twitter.

For further information contact:

Hugo Deacon
0207 861 2842

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