The abandonment rate of smartwatches is 29%, and 30% for fitness trackers, because people do not find them useful, they get bored of them or they break, according to a survey by Gartner.
Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry. The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.
According to the Gartner survey, smartwatch adoption is still in the early adopter stage (10%), while fitness trackers have reached early mainstream (19%). Only 8% of consumers have used VR glasses/head-mounted displays (excluding cardboard types).
The survey found that people typically purchase smartwatches and fitness trackers for their own use, with 34% of fitness trackers and 26% of smartwatches given as gifts.
Survey respondents indicated that wearable devices are priced too high, given their perceived usefulness. Gartner believes that wearable providers that do not have a strong brand name will find it more difficult to grow market share, competing directly with popular brands. Instead, they should accept lower margins and provide an alternative that is priced significantly lower than top brands, but still has good quality for price-sensitive consumers.
The survey also revealed that the designs of smartwatches and fitness trackers are not appealing to consumers. To overcome this concern, Gartner recommends wearable providers partner with companies that design, brand, market and distribute watches and fashion accessories because they have experience setting style trends, marketing lifestyle devices and have established retail channels.
According to the survey, the U.S. is leading smartwatch usage at 12%, while the U.K. is at 9% and Australia at 7%. Usage is up from Gartner’s 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 8% of respondents in the U.S. and 5% in the U.K. used smartwatches.
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.
The survey also showed that the U.S. is leading fitness tracker usage at 23%, while the U.K. is at 15% and Australia at 19%. Usage has increased from the Gartner 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 17% of respondents in the U.S. and 10% in the U.K. used fitness trackers. Most people with a fitness tracker wear it every day. For those who do not, 26% wear their fitness tracker at least several times each week.
According to 29% of survey respondents, fitness trackers are unappealing devices. They said they would not wear them or that the designs are neither fashionable nor attractive.
Younger people less than 45 years old tended to think a smartphone can do everything they need. People at least 45 years old state that they do not plan to purchase a fitness tracker because they are too expensive for the value.
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