A third of wearable devices abandoned by consumers: Gartner

Consumers are initially drawn to shiny new wearable devices, but a good portion abandon them after they get bored of them, a study by Gartner has found.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Almost a third of smartwatches and fitness trackers, 29 and 30 percent respectively, are abandoned by their owners, according to a new study by analyst firm Gartner.

More than 9,500 consumers from Australia, the United Kingdom, and United States, were surveyed between June to August about their attitudes towards wearables as well as their purchasing behaviours around smartwatches, fitness trackers, and virtual reality glasses.

Those who abandoned their devices did so because they didn't find them useful, got bored of them, or they broke, according to the survey.

"Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry," said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

"The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification."

The 2016 Gartner Personal Technologies Study also showed that smartwatch adoption is still in its early stages, sitting at 10 percent, while fitness trackers are closer to reaching mainstream appeal, with a 19 percent adoption rate. VR glasses/head-mounted displays, excluding cardboard types, came in at 8 percent.

Survey respondents also indicated that wearable devices are priced too high, relative to their perceived usefulness, and that they don't find the design of smartwatches and fitness trackers appealing.

The US has the highest proportion of smartwatch users, with a 12 percent adoption rate, followed by the UK at 9 percent, according to the Gartner survey. Australia came in last at 7 percent.

Analyst firm Telsyte, however, found that smartwatches account for a third of all smart wearable devices sold in Australia.

The US also leads in fitness tracker usage, with a 23 percent adoption rate, followed by Australia at 19 percent and the UK at 15 percent, according to Gartner.

People under the age of 45 years tended to think that the smartphone can do everything they need, Gartner added.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday that the current quarter is set to be the best one for the Apple Watch so far.

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