Hong Kong responds to wearables

17 October 2014

HONG KONG: The market for smart technology wristbands and other wearables in Hong Kong is likely to grow as consumers become increasingly health-conscious, representatives from two US tech firms have forecast.

But keeping the product uncomplicated and easy to use will be at least as important as the marketing underpinning their adoption, argued Yolanda Chan and Salina Wang in comments to Marketing Interactive.

Chan, the vp and general manager Asia-Pacific at Fitbit, a San Francisco-based activity tracker, said most consumers using smart wristbands in Hong Kong are early adopters who are very health-conscious or keen on sports, but the technology could appeal to a wider consumer base as long as it's kept simple.

"If the software is easy to use and you can easily share information through the platform with your friends to encourage and challenge each other to work out, you can gradually build a community of people using the wearable device," she said.

She noted that a number of big players, such as Apple, are beginning to enter the market and this is encouraging smaller operators to take part too.

"Suddenly, big and small brands alike are starting to feel there is business to be done in this market and they are starting to flood in, she said. "When brands like Google, Samsung and Apple are willing to invest in the industry, other manufacturers see it's worth investing in."

Wang, who is head of Asia-Pacific for global marketing and B2B at Oregon Scientific, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based IDT International, agreed that simple functionality is the essential formula to win over new users.

"People are increasingly lazy, which is why things need to be easy to use. Sometimes, the more functions your product has, the more complicated it becomes," she said.

"You simply need to offer the most basic functions, such as recording how many steps you walked today, how many calories you burned and how many hours you slept for," she added.

For Wang, the market for smart wristbands in Hong Kong will continue to grow and she also saw great potential for marketers to be able to use them to promote special offers and incentive schemes.

"It can be a pretty good marketing tool, especially with notifications built in," she said.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff