As wearable technology continues to gain popularity, brands and their agencies are tasked to determine what the role of these technologies means to them moving forward and the types of utilities they want to provide to their consumers if they choose to enter the wearable space. The good thing? The burden of starting the R&D process from scratch is no more. Technology is getting cheaper. Coding and tech development has been democratized. Agencies are outfitted to build prototypes. And brand products and services aren’t physical objects anymore, they’re utilities that consumers can tap into via the cloud, anywhere they want.
Before you go and build your own piece of wearable technology, partner with an existing wearable or slap your brand onto a sponsorship, it is important that you identify a consumer behavior your brand can directly impact in this environment. In doing so, you’ll keep your brand strategy aligned, your user will benefit from the utility you provide, and you’ll gain your consumer’s trust as you enter a very intimate part of their personal ecosystem through wearable technology. So how do we identify consumer behaviors in the wearable space your brand can modify and impact? Let’s look at wearable tech today. What’s going on? What types of wearables are out there? And what’s concerning consumers?
It’s projected by eMarketer that by 2018, the wearable industry will produce nearly $70 billion dollars in device and component sales. Enterprise solutions will produce $1.9 billion of this growth as companies continue to digitally transform and see value in these products as more and more companies adapt to mobility and increased connectivity to the cloud. For now, wearables are more of a novelty in the enterprise. Companies need to merge wearable technology with their company data so employees can form insights that benefit their workstreams for this to category to properly kick off.
Healthcare and fitness sales categories will continue to lead the way with a combined $12.6 billion of sales. These are two categories where users see direct benefits of equipping wearable tech. Wearables can and have been saving lives, just look at the evolution of the insulin pumps among those diagnosed with diabetes. And the direct benefits of fitness tracking allow users to instantly make changes to their diets and exercise regimens based on insights pulled from data. The wearable tech components (the tech manufacturers) space is where all the chips, sensors, screens, and materials that go into wearable technology will see a significant leap in sales, a total of $22.1 billion. And as technology gets cheaper, it only means more product development by more and more companies will come to fruition.
And then we have the lifestyle vertical. This is the sales category where your Google Glasses, Apple Watches, and any lifestyle or entertainment products are grouped with sales in 2018 that will reach somewhere near $35.8 billion dollars.It’s a healthy industry to get quickly excited about it. But that doesn’t exactly mean everyone is wearing it or that everyone is going to buy it and that we’ll have this beautifully connected world churning data and insights to make our lives better.
Let’s look at the current market price of the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker at $59.95 USD versus the estimated cost of the 18 karat gold Apple Watch at $1,200 USD. Now if we go back and look at the lifestyle sales vertical of $35.8 billion and compare it to that of the fitness category at only $7.6 billion, it’s easy to see that wearable tech in the lifestyle category will most likely be more about the expensive and exuberant materials that will be used to make wearable pieces that users will be proud to wear and show off versus the lifestyle category blowing up with more users than fitness. These numbers are all estimates of the future of wearables, so who knows. But right now, there are so many wearables for consumers to purchase. So if you do some digging, there most likely is a wearable tech provider out there that’s a match for your brand and the behaviors you want to modify.
Come back next week to read about the different types of wearables in the second post in this series. The final article will describe where brands can play in this arena.