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Wearables gain ground with UK consumers

News, 08 April 2016

LONDON: The penetration of wearable ownership in the UK has almost doubled in the past year, while women are now equally as likely as men to own a device.

According to data from Clicked Research Agency, the proportion of UK consumers owning any wearable device has grown from 7% to 12%, while around one fifth are very interested in owning one.

Growth doubled for Smartwatches (4%), Activity Trackers (6%) and Eyewear (2%), but GPS Sportwatches have stagnated at 4%.

The gender balance, meanwhile, is on an even keel, as the previous skew towards male ownership (54:46) has disappeared (51:49).

In a piece for Warc, UK trends in wearable technology, Clicked's managing director Stephen Mellor also noted a range of shifts in sentiment among user segments with, for example, "Older Keen Exercisers" beginning to embrace the technology more enthusiastically.

He said that the evidence pointed to device ownership becoming broader, more gender neutral, less sports oriented and less youth oriented.

"It also suggests that the category is broadening to the more mainstream consumer who is not obsessed with sports and performance monitoring," he added.

While this is encouraging for product manufacturers – and for brands considering wearables as an advertising opportunity – Mellor cautioned that rates of lapsing remain high.

"Around 72% have stopped using their device within the last year," he said." The majority stop within three months."

So disillusionment is a major issue, but Mellor – referring to Gartner's "Hype Cycle" model – noted that this was part of a standard process of development in a new category.

"For the current owners of wearables in the UK we see devices coming out of a phase of optimism and entering the 'trough of disillusionment', before they mature into more productive devices that the mass market will value."

Data sourced from Warc