2014 is supposed to be the year when wearables leave the early adopter space and cross the chasm to early market adoption (to borrow an often used Clayton Christensen expression). Yet new research by Endeavor Partners shows that while more devices are being sold, early adopters typically lose interest in the products after 18 months of use.
The tech industry can only stand to benefit from a new widely adopted device market. Smartphone and PC sales are plateauing or downright shrinking.
This early in the market however, concerns for wearable devices abound: battery life, security and privacy of data, fashion design/aesthetics, and ultimately useful data.
The latter is a huge opportunity for the space. The novelty of being told how many steps you took or hours you slept will wear off if that data doesn’t ultimately tell you what to do with it. Finding insights in data, and wearables data finding correlation with other activity in your life, is a win if done correctly: go to bed earlier tonight, try a new work out for this muscle group you haven’t worked out recently, etc.
Of course, the market will benefit hugely if Apple introduces an industry-defining device or platform to create a strong wearables ecosystem. Presently, wearables devices should work on fitting in seamlessly with existing technologies and behavior in place of trying to completely replace them.
And just in time, too. The tech industry needs something novel to sell, with smartphone sales slowing and personal computer sales dropping. Last year, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Gear, making it the first major hardware company to enter the market, and Google is expected to start selling Glass this year. Sure, the market is small, but it’s growing.