JOHANNESBURG: Two thirds of South African consumers are interested in wearable technologies, and an even higher proportion want to buy electronic safety devices, a survey has said.

Consulting firm Accenture surveyed 1,000 local consumers, focused on their technology spending and usage, and found that 65% expressed interest in buying wearables such as fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing personal health. Smart watches (62%) and internet-connected glasses (55%) also drew their attention.

Given South Africa's reputation for crime – and while it is high, people think of it as more violent than it really is according to observers – there was also a high level of interest in safety devices, whether home security monitors (81%), in-car navigation systems (80%) or personal safety monitors (71%).

"Technology is connecting devices, providing an additional level of information through the real-time processing of large amounts of data," Tammy Whyman, MD for strategy practice at Accenture SA, told IT Web.

As an example she suggested that drivers' in-vehicle navigation systems could link with a city's video surveillance system and warn them of suspicious behaviour on their route.

Ordinary electronic devices featured strongly, with 64% of respondents interested in buying a smartphone within the next year. Tablets (51%) and HDTV (46%) were also high on the list.

"The consumer electronics industry is undergoing massive transformation as consumers become more connected to an increasing array of digital products and services, anywhere, anytime," said Whyman, who thought the interest in wearables was a reflection of this.

She further suggested that consumers found these developments so attractive they were prepared to pay a premium for them.

"To fully serve the needs of the new digital consumers in the era of big-bang disrupters, companies need a strategy for targeting, recruiting and activating a digital ecosystem," Whyman stated.

Data sourced from IT Web; additional content by Warc staff