Conventional wisdom says that people quickly tire of their fitness bands, and shove them into the back of a drawer somewhere. New research from Valencell paints a very different picture. An online survey provides an update for the study that the company conducted two years ago. The study indicates that ownership is increasing; 63% reported that they have owned a wearable device, which is up significantly from 42% in the 2016 survey.
Of those surveyed who own wearables, two-thirds believe that the device has had a positive impact on their health. And of those who own a wearable, nearly three out of four have used their device for a year or more. For those who have stopped using their device, the main reason given was that frequent recharging was too inconvenient. (This supports our contention that success for wearables will require that they “disappear” into our daily lives, without demanding our attention.) One in five said that they didn’t trust the accuracy of the results. In fact, 93% of the respondents indicated that device accuracy was important or very important, leading comfort (90%) and ease of use (83%) as the top priorities for consumers.
Another interesting shift is that users want more medical data from their wearables. A majority want to be able to measure blood pressure, and one-third want to be able to monitor blood sugar levels. Consumers are already choosing devices with more features; 53% reported owning a smartwatch (up from 32% in 2016), while fitness bands dropped to 45% (compared with 52% in 2016).
Wearables clearly are finding a permanent place in our lives, as users find that they help lead to improved health and fitness. Accuracy is improving, but there is still a need to make them more convenient. They have a role to play in producing valuable data, both for individual users and for broader populations as well.