The Prospects for In­dian Wear­able Mar­ket

The big­gest hur­dle for wear­able providers is to over­come con­sumer per­cep­tion as the de­vices do not of­fer a com­pelling value propo­si­tion

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The In­dian wear­able mar­ket is emerg­ing ex­ten­sively with new trends and in­no­va­tions ev­ery year but ex­pe­ri­ences a back foot in strength­en­ing a po­si­tion amid the cos­tumers. Many com­pa­nies en­tered into this arena in the re­cent years whilst the us­age of th­ese gad­gets de­vices seems limited. Peo­ple have started aban­don­ing th­ese de­vices and cat­e­go­riz­ing them as not-so-use­ful and bor­ing de­vices.

In a re­cent sur­vey by Gart­ner, the aban­don rate for smart­watch is 29% and a fit­ness tracker is 30%. The main rea­son for this phase of aban­don­ment is said to be the ex­pe­ri­ence of us­ing apps on wrist-mounted de­vices as they nor­mally don’t live up to the ex­pec­ta­tion and in­stead feel more like an im­po­si­tion. In or­der to be more use­ful, smart­watch should pro­vide more com­pelling value and have a dis­tinct us­age from smart­phones.

The 2016 Gart­ner Per­sonal Tech­nolo­gies Study sur­veyed 9,592 on­line re­spon­dents from Aus­tralia, U.S and U.K be­tween June and Au­gust. The sur­veyor asked re­spon­dents about their at­ti­tude to­wards wear­ables and stud­ied their buy­ing be­hav­ior for smart­watches, fit­ness track­ers and Vir­tual Re­al­ity (VR) glasses to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomers. As per the re­sults, the aban­don rate is much higher than the us­age rate.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, the adop­tion of smart­watch is still in the early stages (10%) whereas fit­ness tracker has reached early main­stream (19%) and only 8% cus­tomers have used VR glasses. The sur­vey found that peo­ple mainly buy th­ese wear­able de­vices for their per­sonal use in which 26% of smart­watch and 34% of fit­ness tracker are re­ceived as gifts.

“Con­tin­ued growth in the adop­tion of smart­watches and fit­ness track­ers will now be from main­stream cus­tomers in­stead of early tech­nol­ogy adopters,” said An­gela Mclntyre, Re­search Di­rec­tor at Gart­ner. “The great­est hur­dle for fit­ness tracker and smart­watch providers is to over­come customer per­cep­tion that the de­vices do not of­fer a com­pelling enough value propo­si­tion.”

Cus­tomers be­lieve that the prices of such de­vices are too high, given the use­ful­ness. Ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner, it would be dif­fi­cult for the wear­able providers who do not have a strong brand name to com­pete with the well­known brands. It is ad­vis­able to lower the mar­gin and pro­vide the al­ter­na­tive price lower than top brands and at the same time main­tain qual­ity. Wear­able mak­ers need to en­gage with the cus­tomers and pro­vide in­no­va­tion as well as gam­i­fi­ca­tion.

Cus­tomers are also not very happy with the de­signs of wear­able de­vices. 29% re­spon­dents find fit­ness track­ers un­ap­peal­ing as th­ese de­vices are nei­ther fash­ion­able nor at­trac­tive. Gart­ner rec­om­mends the wear­able providers to part­ner with other com­pa­nies that de­signs, mar­ket and dis­trib­ute watches and fash­ion ac­ces­sories as they have an am­ple ex­pe­ri­ence in this do­main.

“More fit­ness track­ers will be sold as re­place­ment de­vices rather than first-time pur­chases from now un­til the mid­dle of 2017,” said Mikako Kita­gawa, Prin­ci­pal Re­search An­a­lyst at Gart­ner. “It is im­por­tant for providers to mar­ket low-priced fit­ness track­ers to the el­der user seg­ments, es­pe­cially to older women.” Smart­watch us­age is clearly higher among peo­ple 44 years old and younger. More than half of peo­ple who use a smart­watch (58%) use it ev­ery day, and those who don’t (33%) use it at least sev­eral times a week.

Among the dif­fer­ent coun­tries, U.S leads the smart­watch mar­ket by 12% fol­lowed by U.K with 9% and Aus­tralia by 7%. The sur­vey also sug­gested that young peo­ple tend to think that a smart­phone can do ev­ery­thing they need and po­ten­tial cos­tumers (aged around 45 years) be­lieve that th­ese de­vices are too ex­pen­sive for the value.

Though wear­able mar­ket is still con­sid­ered to be in its ini­tial years of in­dus­try brand­ing, it is ex­pected to gain a lot of po­ten­tial cus­tomers with new and at­trac­tive mar­ket­ing as well as op­er­a­tional strate­gies. Th­ese de­vices can be en­hanced, op­ti­mized and tweaked to be­come a new wave of growth for wear­able tech com­pa­nies.

The bot­tom line here too is that if we can use tech­nol­ogy to gain health and cut down on med­i­cal ex­penses, it is a step in the right di­rec­tion. The money saved on med­i­cal care world­wide can be chan­nel­ized to­wards food for the poor. A healthy hu­man­ity is a bet­ter bet for all spheres of life and can en­hance the qual­ity of life. So if smart­watches and fit­ness track­ers be­come more user-friendly and ap­peal­ing to the aes­thet­ics, their sales could trig­ger a health wave and in re­turn help raise the qual­ity of life.

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