In 2015, approximately 78.1 million wearable's were sold. Estimated total sales for 2016 are expected to ring in around 102 million in total. So why is the New York times reporting that wearable tech, more than ever, is ending up in your junk drawer?
We've been lauding the day wearable tech would become a reality and now that it's here, its ended up near the old stapler, your free mouse pad and scotch tape. We watched the Jettisons use it, Inspector Gadget even James Bond! However, it appears the days where these devices made us feel like these characters was short lived.
While the wearable industry is still alive and well, its certainly not where some experts thought it would be. Nearly three years ago, a research division within Business Insider, predicted by the year 2018 Google Glass would have emerged to be an $11 billion dollar business. Why didn't it just take off like everyone thought it would?
What BI Intelligence (The division within Business insider that made the prediction) failed to recognize was that fascination does equate to sales. Google Glass launched May 15, 2015 and then swiftly ended selling Google Glass in January of 2016. Regardless of the massive hype surrounding Google Glass, it did not even last on the market for a year.
The Universal truth about all wearable's
So did Google just misprice Google Glass? What was the issue and why did it fail? Forbes contributor, Ian Altman, attempted a post-mortem. As to why Google Glass failed, he contributed this anecdote, "I've asked more than 3,000 CEOs and executives to identify the top questions they need to answer in order to approve or deny a request to spend money on something. I universally get the same answer at the top of the list: 'What problem does it solve or why would I need it?'"
It's also difficult to gage the future of wearables with the vast majority of wearable tech being health related. We're currently on the cusp of witnessing wearable tech penetrate the entertainment industry. This will add a whole new element to how people use and interact with wearables collectively.
In the meantime, people are getting bored. In a survey in which more than 6000 US adults participated in, Endeavour Partners was able to reveal that one in 10 consumers over the age of 18 owns a wearable (Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike Fuelband or Misfit wearable). Apparently, more than half of those who participated in the survey no longer use their wearable. Not to mention a third of them stopped using the device entirely within six months of receiving it.
The problem with wearable tech is it exists to enhance. You don't need a FitBit to go running, but it will give you some great information regarding how you ran. Perhaps the greatest turmoil the wearable industry faces is bridging the gap between luxurious or slick and actually useful.
The Subjective Truth About All Wearables
On top of FitBit's and Jaw Bone's legal battles, the companies market values have not been friendly to them. Jaw Bone, the creator of the "UP" wearable wristband recently lost over half its worth in the beginning of 2016. Falling from a $3 billion valuation to $1.5 billion in January.
Like BI Intelligence, a tech research Firm called, IDC made some bold predictions about wearables becoming increasingly popular around 2018. Jitesh Ubrani, the senior research analyst at IDC did a little bit of back peddling, "We recently revised our estimate because we don't think it's going to happen anymore... Basically, we don't see this happening until at least 2019."So, why not? Why haven't these companies been able to revolutionize or change athletic wear as we know it?
New York Times writer, Farhad Majoo said some of the wearables presented at CES this January were, "In their awkward adolescence." The problem with a lot of these devices is they need another device to function- a smart phone. NY times Nick Bilton adds, "There's also the fact that most of these devices are quite ugly. While male nerds may not mind their design, women don't seem as interested in wearing a fax machine on their wrist, even if it's painted rose gold or comes with a fancy leather strap."
Just because the wearable tech industry is still in its infancy, Doesn't mean its not jaded. It's taken a number of new products, lots of start ups and law suits to find out that people like talking about wearable tech a lot more than they enjoy wearing it.