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If you don’t yet possess a wearable-tech device, over the next few years that could be set to change. According to a new report from eMarketer, while penetration of wearable tech is currently at just 16% in the US, this is expected to double by 2018, equating to almost 81 million users.
So what’s driving this uptick in adoption? Overwhelmingly, it’s about health and fitness. With the gift-giving season just around the corner, so the proliferation of top wearable tech present lists begins to appear. What’s been striking for me as I’ve scanned through these gift recommendations is the focus on health and fitness wearable tech as opposed to, for example, messaging. And research from digital health investment firm Rock Health, and reported by eMarketer suggests that for consumers this is very much the attraction. According to the research, 65% of respondents cited the desire to be more active as the reason for purchasing a wearable tech device, with 42% saying to help them lose weight and 21% to improve sleep. Just 14% cited social reasons – suggesting that smartphones are doing a good enough job in keeping people connected.
Perhaps what is also helping drive the growth of wearable tech is the diverse range of products available. There may be marquee products such as the Apple Watch within the sector, but products such Fitbit ensure that price need not be a barrier to purchase – and that ease of use plays an important role in user adoption.
This move towards individuals using devices to improve – or at least track – their health points to a wider trend in the growth of digital health which is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry. According to The Accenture Healthcare IT Vision 2015, 84% of health executives surveyed agreed that healthcare industry will need to focus as much on training machines as they do on training people in the next three years. Wearable devices will be only one piece of the puzzle, as technology enables more personalized, holistic and efficient healthcare. Maintaining patient trust and confidence will be key, which is where careful messaging comes in as new technologies unfold. For my money, this is one exciting industry to watch.
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