Expect many more misses than hits in the wearable market


Charles Arthur of The Guardian couples a few anecdotal observations with some hard data to question why the market for wearable tech has yet to take off. Arthur discovered hundreds of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatches for sale on eBay and noted a survey from CCS Insight last fall that 40 percent of users in the U.S. and the U.K. who owned either a smartwatch or a fitness tracker had stopped using them because they became bored with them or forgot to put them on. The writer surmises that “if you don’t get it just right” in the wearable market, “they’re done.”

I agree. The overall market for wearables is huge, but for the next few years, at least, it will consist of a variety of niches: Fitness fans who want to track their workouts, patients whose doctors can monitor them remotely, kids who may not quite be ready for a phone, and early adopters who simply must have Google Glass or some other pair of connected eyewear. Meanwhile, manufacturers are scrambling to bring all kinds of wearable gadgets to market as quickly as possible. A uniform mass market may eventually emerge — I can see a day when most of us don’t leave the house without something like Google Glass — but that market is a long way off. Until then, we’ll see many more failures than successes.

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