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Wearable technology will soon become an integral part of many retail experiences, as it's poised to create an enhanced customer experience – better, more informed service; faster checkout; greater access to deals; and more real-time input into purchasing decisions – according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) The Wearable Future report, which evaluates user expectations, innovative breakthroughs and industry adoption of the wearable technology, particularly in the retail industries.
As part of PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series, key takeaways from The Wearable Future report found that 20 percent of American adults already own a wearable device and the adoption rate – on par with tablets in 2012 – is quickly expected to rise. The extensive U.S. research project, which surveyed 1,000 consumers, wearable technology influencers and business executives, along with social media chatter monitoring, found that while fitness bands, smart watches and other wearables are already established, many have under-delivered on expectations.
To wit: 33 percent of surveyed consumers who purchased a wearable technology device more than a year ago now say they no longer use the device at all or use it infrequently. Price, privacy, security and the lack of “actionable” and inconsistent information from such devices are among consumers’ main apprehensions with the bourgeoning category. In fact, 82 percent of respondents were worried that wearable technology would invade their privacy and 86 percent expressed concern that wearables would make them more vulnerable to security breaches.
That said, 53 percent of millennials and 54 percent of early adopters say they are excited about the future of wearable tech. Among the top three potential benefits:
- Improved safety: 90 percent of consumers expressed that the ability for parents to keep children safe via wearable technology is important.
- Healthier living: More than 80 percent of consumers listed eating healthier, exercising smarter and accessing more convenient medical care as important benefits of wearable technology.
- Simplicity & ease of use: 83 percent of respondents cited simplification and improved ease of technology as a key benefit of wearable technology.
Further, for wearables to be most valuable to consumers, it needs to embrace Internet of Things opportunities; transform big data into super data that not only culls, but also interprets information to deliver insights; and take a human-centered design approach, creating a simplified user experience and an easier means to achieve goals, so finds the PwC research.
“Businesses must evolve their existing mobile-first strategy to now include the wearable revolution and deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner,” said Deborah Bothun, PwC’s U.S. advisory entertainment, media & communications leader. “Relevance is the baseline, but then there is a consumer list of requirements to enable interaction with the brand in a mobile and wearable environment.”