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Are wearables failing? New study reveals an adoption issue

Tech companies thought wearables would be the next big thing, so why aren’t consumers chomping at the bit to get their hands on them?

wearables tech smartwatch

Just about every major tech company has come up with one or multiple wearables. Clearly, the industry had hoped that wearables would become as ubiquitous as mobile phones, bringing in major revenue.

Unfortunately for tech giants and startups alike, wearables haven’t really caught on with consumers. There was a notable lack of hype around wearables at this year’s Mobile World Conference, with virtual reality and 360 degree video taking the spotlight.

Losing profit

This past year several companies lost profits or even gave up completely on their wearable products.

Just one week before they were due to ship, Toshiba pulled its Wearvue glasses from the market, turning its focus back towards its more profitable ventures.

Is there value in a wearable?

Largely thanks to their devoted fan base, Apple was able to sell an estimated 4.1 million Apple Watches in quarter four of 2015, but showed only a 5 percent increase from quarter three – a particularly feeble growth, given that shoppers usually buy up tech gadgets during the holidays.

Reviewers complained that the watch is difficult to use, and doesn’t provide any particular value over a smartphone.

Fitness trackers aren’t faring any better than smart watches and glasses. One of the market’s first fitness trackers, the Nike FuelBand, was pulled from the market about a year ago after four years of floundering. FitBit is hoping to rake in $2.4 billion in 2016, but reports from this past year show they that turned zero profit in quarter one, having lost big bucks investing in two new smart wearable products.

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Smartphones over everything

What gives? Obviously the minds at these tech companies thought wearables would be the next big thing, so why aren’t consumers chomping at the bit to get their hands on them? It’s likely a combination of lack of interest and sub-par product development.

Consumers already have their smartphones in their pockets and purses at all times, so they simply don’t see the need to be constantly connected to another smart device.

Giving it time

Most tech companies haven’t given up on wearables completely – after all, sometimes it takes a few years for a new trend to catch on. But developers will need to figure out how to make wearables offer a user experience that is genuinely unique.


Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.


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