It appears people may need some more time before embracing wearable technologies: A new study, conducted by market research firm TNS, has found that 75 percent of consumers are familiar with wearable computing devices, but just 10 percent of respondents re currently using them.
However, new product releases are expected to improve both the awareness of and interest in wearable tech. The announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, for example, increased awareness of smartwatches by 10 percentage points, the research found.
"Wearable computing is still in its infancy," said Tom Buehrer, senior vice president at TNS. "The main challenge lies in convincing people of its value and developing a device with mass appeal. The future of computing will be wearable. The question is, which kind of computers will people actually wear?"
The answer to that question may lie in the wearability of such devices. Fifty-two percent of the consumers surveyed said they would like to wear a device on their wrist, while 24 percent said they would like to wear a device on their arm. Consumer preferences may also present a challenge for Google Glass. Only 5 percent of respondents said they would wear a device on their eyes or face.
Wearability is not the only factor influencing how people feel about wearable tech. More than half — 55 percent — of respondents said wearable tech is too expensive, and nearly one-quarter said they do not want to add another device to their collection. Privacy is also an issue for many potential consumers. Thirty-one percent of consumers say they are worried about their privacy with wearable devices.
On the other hand, people are enthusiastic about wearable tech's health-related features. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they would purchase wearable-tech devices for health-tracking purposes. But the researchers said the impact of wearable tech will soon be felt in other areas of everyday life.
"Imagine having information that literally is right in front of you that reminds you of important information that you should already know, like a colleague's name or important anniversary dates," Buehrer said. "Imagine using your wrist to pay for lunch or to buy movie tickets. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways which we are just starting to imagine."
The research was based on 1,000 response s by consumers in the United States.
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