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Australians indifferent to wearables

News, 22 May 2015

SYDNEY: Most Australians and New Zealanders have no intention of buying wearable technology, unlike consumers in China and Malaysia where interest is substantially higher a new survey has shown.

Lightspeed GMI, the market research business, interviewed 2,407 consumers in nine Asia Pacific countries – Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan – and found that existing owners of wearable tech and those most interested in acquiring it were heavily skewed towards 25-44 year old males.

China and Malaysia recorded the highest ownership figures, with almost one third of those surveyed claiming to be existing users. Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore were some way back at an average of 20% while in Australia and New Zealand the figure was just 11%.

And 62% of Australians said they had no intention of purchasing such devices.

Overall usage at 21% was, as one would expect, a lot lower than awareness at 41%; the remaining 38% had no interest at all.

But around one third of those who owned at least one wearable tech product said their usage had declined since they first purchased it, indicating a novelty factor.

The main reason adduced for purchase was convenience (33.5%). Users could, for example, simply glance at their Apple Watch on their wrist instead of having to pull out their iPhone multiple times a day.

Being fashionable (10.6%) and being seen as high-tech (11.8%) were also factors. "Not many mentioned the actual functions of wearable tech products as the core appeals," noted Jeff Tsui, senior director at Lightspeed GMI APAC.

Offsetting any possible convenience was the need to carry more devices around. As one respondent observed, most wearables didn't do anything his smartphone couldn't. "I am not entirely sure what additional functions I want, but they need to be something innovative, looks good, and desirable that can give me real practical benefits," he said.

Data sourced from Lightspeed GMI; additional content by Warc staff