Wearable Devices: Security, Usability Important

The purchase of wearable consumer electronics still lags behind the more traditional forms, but a recent survey of consumers by Accenture indicates more people are including them in their future purchase plans.

The 2015 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey interviewed 24,000 consumers in 24 countries. The survey indicates that some categories of intelligent devices are on the brink of becoming a mainstay of consumers’ lives.

While less than 10 percent of those surveyed reported owning an intelligent device, the report found that:

  • Within the next year, 12 percent of consumers plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor. Within five years, 40 percent plan to do so
  • By a year from now, 12 percent intend to buy a smartwatch, whereas 41 percent plan to by the year 2020
  • 10 percent plan to buy a wearable health device in the next year, and 26 percent plan to buy one within the next five years.
  • Eight percent plan to buy a wearable heads-up display in the next year, and 27 percent plan to buy one by the year 2020.
  • Eight percent plan to buy a virtual reality headset within the next year, and 26 percent plan to buy one by the year 2020.

Meanwhile, more traditional electronics remain popular, but the pace of purchases is showing signs of a slowdown:

  • 38 percent intend to buy a tablet in the next year, down from 44 percent in 2014
  • 36 percent plan to buy an HDTV, down from 44 percent
  • 54 percent plan to purchase a smartphone compared with 57 percent in 2014.

Also in that group, the report found that more consumers who planned to change their spending habits planned to decrease rather than increase their spending.

The challenge facing companies that produce intelligent devices, the report found, is to produce devices consumers are able to use “out of the box.”

The survey discovered that a high percentage of those polled found wearable health devices too complicated to use (24%); that they did not set up properly (22%) and that they did not work as advertised (21%).

When it came to being able to use an intelligent device, 83 percent reported having difficulty using an intelligent device. Ease of use was found to be the key factor in making a purchase for 33 percent of consumers.

Security of personal data was also a concern. Almost half of those surveyed, 44%, said they are careful what information they share because they have no confidence in online security. Ten percent said they never share personal data online for that reason. The level of caution is higher for users under age 35 than it is for those over age 35.

Copyright © 2017 MD2K. MD2K is supported by the National Institutes of Health Big Data to Knowledge Initiative (Grant #1U54EB020404)

Team: Cornell Tech, GA Tech, Harvard, U. Memphis, Northwestern, Ohio State, Open mHealth, UCLA, UCSD, UCSF, UMass, U. Michigan, Utah, WVU