People still don’t value wearables very highly, research finds

by: Robert TriggsOctober 26, 2015

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Are wearables the next big thing for smart products or a high-cost segment being forced into the market in lieu of meaningful innovation? It appears that the latter may be closer to the truth at the moment, as Juniper Research has found that very few consumers are interested in expensive wearable gadgets.

From a survey of just over 2,000 smartphone owners in the UK and US, the research found that only 1 in 5 customers are prepared to pay more than $175 (~£115) for any sort of wearable device. This doesn’t bode well for the range of more expensive smartwatches that have hit the market lately, and probably also goes some way to explain the popularity of lower cost sports wearables, such as the FitBit range.

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Starting at $300, the recent Samsung Gear S2 is way above the apparent price ceiling for wearables.

However, this trend is somewhat at odds with the research team’s finding about the ‘coolest’ brands. Both Apple and Samsung, which offer the most expensive wearables on the market, topped the rankings, with over 75 percent of respondents stating that they preferred these two brands. Other Android Wear manufacturers make up the top five, while Pebble and a number of sports brands, which feature lower price tags, are dotted lower down the list. Fashion brands didn’t fare too well either.

‘As well as a more definite use, fitness devices also win on value. They are the least costly wearables in the market, and the only category consistently under $175, which our survey identifies as the price ceiling for most consumers.– Juniper Research Analyst James Moar.

Juniper Research goes on to suggest that the lack of a convincing use-case for smartwatches is reducing the amount of money that consumers are willing to spend. Fitness products, on the other hand, have a clear use. Interestingly, despite common complaints from the tech savvy crowd, poor wearable battery life would only deter around 4 percent of those who responded to the survey.

Of course, this research also suggests that there’s a good portion, some 20 percent, of current smartphone users who are interested in the higher end wearables segment, and perhaps that is enough to spur on additional growth. Samsung and Apple, in particular, don’t seem to be complaining about sales, after all.

You can see the full results from the survey at the source link below. How do your thoughts on the wearables market match up with this research?

  • nebulaoperator

    Battery life.

    • mobilemann

      mine lasts 2 days. That’s not bad.

      • Phillip

        Ikr folks don’t have a clue but they have lots of complaints and miss information

    • Phillip

      I get three days on both my Samsung watches and pebble watches get over a week. Heck I plug my phone every night what’s the problem

  • Eric Welling

    I know wearables are just not as easily adopted as expected, but I can’t live without Android Wear anymore. I grab my phone much less now, and for instance Speech to text works great! My Huawei Watch is sacred to me, after my LG G Watch R got stolen.

    • s2weden2000

      it’s called Huawatch …

  • Modman

    People are slow to adapt new technology. That is the main reason apple is still in business. People buy it because its pretty.They feel comfortable with it. They fail to realise the advantages of a tablet like the galaxy note that let’s you go paperless since the first note phone and note 10. Samsung bought this tech from wacom. Nothing has come close to it to this day. The most useful feature for my original lg gwatch is texting from my wrist when on the subway with one hand or outside in the rain. Unfortunately since minuum needs to be side loaded to accomplish this it requires some tech savvyness and most will never catch on.Since receiving emails texts sending them and using the watch to play music are the features I use the most I really don’t have a need for a more expensive smart watch.

  • Mark Washington

    I prefer a smart watch over a regular watch .

  • s2weden2000

    people want to see who’s calling and see simple notifications..not all the other crap…

    • mobilemann

      idk, i can control my home automation stuff, and sometimes it’s nice if the phone is elsewhere charging, plus full siri support is good (can do most things hands free, yes i’m talking about the apple watch, but when gnow his your wrist you will love it!

      • s2weden2000

        bethany 34 don’t care about automation she wants simple notifications …

        • mobilemann

          you should try it before judging! Notifications will always be the killer app tho

          • s2weden2000

            i don’t wanna…

  • Freddy Born

    too bad its so overpriced(at least the ones that look decent like the huawei watch). The high end smartwatche have hardware from a galaxy s4 with 512mbram(not that more is needed but still)

  • Peter

    I would take a smart-watch over a traditional watch anytime. And I think most people would – BUT – just as not many people wear watches, not many people will wear smart-watches. As simple as that. Not to mention they don’t really have any killer features yet.

    • Hans Pedersen

      That’s not entirely true. If no one would wear regular watches we wouldn’t have a jeweller or watch shop every 200m in the malls. Like some other guy below says, the current smartwatches are really not smart. They’re an extra screen for the smartphone you’re already bringing with you anyway. Another gadget you have to recharge every night. Just another way for the companies to milk a few hundred bucks extra from their buyers.

      • Phillip

        I think your missing the whole point . The smart watches allow me to not have to pull my phone out while I’m working are when it’s not appropriate to pull it out . There’s more then a few times I missed a important call are message because my phone was on silent in my pocket. And with my gear S having the convenience of just answering a call from my couch when my phone is in another room priceless

      • Phillip

        You do know that buying a smart watches is optional. Not everyone lives on a fixed income and complain all the time about what another man likes to spend his money on just cause you don’t get it don’t knock last I checked this is a gadget site for gadget minded people you sound like that guy that is still using that 4 year old phone but hates on folks like myself that likes and buys the latest technology all the time . FYI with my gear S is don’t Ned to carry my phone at all cause it’s 3g capable .AND THE BATTERY last three times longer then the average phone but I guess you didn’t know that

  • Hilko

    I would love to have a nice smartwatch, a good looking one like the new gear with the outer dial, or better even the Huawei……. but I dont want to have to charge it every day. Until the technical battery issues are really fixed and we can have a weeks worth of battery in a smartwatchm, I’m not going for it. Plus I’m not paying 500 euro for a gadget like that anyway.

  • nyarathotep

    Several months ago I impulse-bought a Moto 360 after they dropped to $150 at Best Buy. I had a couple weeks of mild buyer’s remorse as I realized that it wasn’t going to be as useful for the specific things that I had hoped it would, then I started appreciating the more basic features like notifications and call-screening without having to dig my phone from a pocket or bag. Also extremely handy for setting timers/alarms/reminders in the instances where issuing voice commands aren’t awkward.

    While I wouldn’t say that I can’t live without it at this point, I really, really missed it for the week or so that I didn’t have it while the watch was back at Motorola for warranty replacement (developed a cracked plastic back). I kept on glancing at my old Ironman every time my phone buzzed in my jacket pocket, then realize disappointment.

    • Phillip

      Most that don’t realize the convenience never had one . My I don’t leave the house without one on my wrist it cracks me up when everyone at my work place are always asking me for the time cause there phone is stuffed in there pockets are worse down in a purse. Now who looks like the smart guy now . I think a lot more people want a smart watches but are to damn cheap

  • Hotbod Handsomeface

    “Hmm, let me have a watch on my wrist that requires me to still have my phone in my pocket. Seems legit.” – No one ever.

    • Phillip

      With my gear S don’t need my phone on me at all its a phone and a watch . Seems legit to me to not have to pull my phone out my pocket 100 times a day when all I have to do is flick my wrist. Don’t knock what you obviously haven’t tried

  • Ron Harris

    Currently, smart watches ain’t so smart. Your phone however is getting smarter by the second. Compared to my first PC, my watch is a super PC. We just need software to work with it instead of relying so much on the phone. Not much will change until we get used to talking to our devices, and better yet, our watches responding with natural speech. Who doesn’t want the “Star Trek computer like” interaction?

  • This is great news. Wearables are useless and are mostly a solution in desperate search for a problem.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    The article:

    “Starting at $300, the recent Samsung Gear S2 is way above the apparent price ceiling for wearables.”
    Then buy Apple watch , iboy! LOL
    BTW , when all the media (like AA) was trying to create a hype about the smartwatches , I have told you that this is a Wall street’s BS wet dream and “innovation”. And I have told you that only sub $100 bands could sell. Right?

  • ChrisLaarman

    I think that smartwatches will stay tied to smartphones, sharing their place with Augmented Reality glasses. There is something uncomfortably large needed for data entry, data viewing, and (tendency shrinking) processing power and battery. (Virtual Reality may have us type on virtual keyboards or use virtual controllers, but that would require us wearing sensors, however small, on our fingers.)

    Many people will be happy carrying just one device (smartphone) as the ultimate compromise of “everything” and portability.
    Some people may “need” wearables for measuring and transmitting health or fitness data.
    Some people may “need” wearables during circumstances when grabbing a device would be uncomfortable up to dangerous, like when navigating or performing surgery. The wearable could be a watch, a band, a ring, perhaps something else. Or the wearables could be needed to control some machinery (car and musical instrument included).

    I think that in a few years only these groups of people “in need” will continue to use wearables, and only for the time they are “in need”.
    Then for the non-corporal users time and location would be the triggers, likely including the proximity of certain other people (like business contacts). That would establish the hardware requirements, the software features, and the use of these. These “productivity” users may want their wearables to match their looks, at least not undermine their appearance. Haptic feedback may be a welcome and discrete way to let the wearer know that he (or she!) is not in control of /everything/.

    People ostentatiously wearing fashionly watches or glittering smartphones and frequently using them may soon be considered phoney (pun intended): too openly not in control.

    So… what (if any) wearables would James Bond use in his next movie?

  • Phillip

    I’ve had all the gear watches and currently have a gear s and a gear s2 love them both ..but I’ve always worn a watch . I think Samsung gear s2 is in my opinion the best of them all . And my gear S is a legitimate cell phone replacement . Problem is most don’t ware a watch of any kind so they just don’t get it . The smart watches are a extension of your phone not a replacement

  • Suzaku Kururugi

    100 dollars is the furthest I’d go for an “accessory”. I don’t follow smartwatches much but if they can’t be used standalone then fuck’em.