MELBOURNE: Wearable technologies could offer Australian marketers new opportunities as smartwatches and fitness trackers take off in the country.

According to research by mobile technology company Ansible, 96% of Australians have heard of wearable devices as usage of the technology continues to increase. Two thirds of Australians aged between 18-25 have used a wearable device, and half of all Australians are planning to purchase wearable technology in the next six months. Health and fitness is the main motivator for all types of wearable purchases.

Smartwatches are the most popular wearable technology with smartwatch ownership doubling in the last year: 18% of all Australians surveyed now own a smartwatch. Among millennials, smartwatch ownership is even higher at 24%. Apple's iWatch is the most recognised product and market leader in sales with 76% of Australians recognising the heavily marketed brand, well ahead of Samsung's smartwatch offering at 51%.

"Smart watch ownership has doubled across Australia in the past year as part of consumers' continuing rapid transition to mobile 24/7," said Scott Player, CEO of Ansible Australia.

"We are also seeing many other interest points in wearables that tell us there is strong potential growth looming across this product sector," he told B&T Magazine.

Fitness trackers and wearable gaming technologies were second and third most popular among Australians. Fitbit was the most recognised fitness tracker brand, with 73% brand recognition.

Mobile commerce has also taken off in Australia as smartphone penetration grows rapidly. The research indicated that purchases of clothing, gaming and video and entertainment content have more than doubled in Australia since last year.

Mobile payments are also popular, with 45% of contactless payments users having tried Apple Pay.

Data sourced from Ansible; Mumbrella, B&T; additional content by Warc staff