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TNS Survey Shows Despite Increase in Awareness, Use of Smartwatches is Only at 1%

Wearable technology is here. Everywhere you look, new gadgets that can be attached, strapped on, or donned arrive on the market igniting an explosion of creativity from both start-ups and traditional tech companies. At the International Consumer Electronics Show this week, companies came ready to show off new watches, wristbands, eyeglasses and much more. Yet despite the deluge of marketing dollars being spent to bring these products to market, the consumer is just not that interested.

According to a study released today by TNS, a global research consultancy, the awareness levels of wearable products is quite high, yet consumer adoption isn’t following suit. For example, since August of 2013, awareness in the Smartwatch technology has gone from a modest forty-nine percent (49%) to an astounding eighty percent (80%). And while this level of awareness is positive for manufacturers, the lack of use of the products is not. Of those surveyed, only one percent (1%) are actually using the wearable technology.

“There are a number of reasons why consumers are reluctant to adapt to wearing these devices,” said Brian Cooper, Senior Vice President of TNS and author of the study. “The technology is still quite expensive for mass adoption, but the most critical part of this is that the technology forces a change in behavior and we’ve seen that when this is required, change is often slow.”

The problem is not just with Smartwatches:

According to the TNS study, the same trend that is occurring with Smartwatches can be seen across other wearable tech categories. The pattern is consistent with head-mounted devices like Google Glass, where awareness has increased from fifty-two percent (52%) in August of 2013 to sixty-four percent (64%) today, yet usage is still around one percent (1%).

“There has been great momentum developing in the wearables category, but the consumer market hasn’t begun to adopt this new technology,” Cooper said. “While it’s too soon to say whether wearables is the next big thing or not, it’s clear that tech companies have their work cut out for them.”

The TNS survey was conducted 10 times from August 2013 to January 2014. In each wave of the study 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18-64 from the US participated. TNS focuses on key trends and the broader implications wearable technology has on consumer behavior and attitudes on their blog at www.wearablethis.com.

About TNS

TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.

TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.

About Kantar

Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com.

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