The pervasiveness of wearable technology has increased immensely over the past year. From the Apple Watch to Fitbits and everything in-between, consumers have even more immediate access to information than with smartphones. Because of this, the market for wearable tech is bigger than ever. Smartwatches have opened the door for products as innovative as smart clothing, which includes anything from “connected shirts, belts with fitness trackers, shoes boasting run tracking and sports apparel measuring athletes’ performance…”
According to Ramon T. Llamas, the research manager for International Data Corporation’s Wearable team, “The wearables market is entering a new phase. Since the market’s inception, it’s been a matter of getting product out there to generate awareness and interest. Now it’s about getting the experience right – from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data.”
As the market has grown over the years, the the capabilities of these wearables have expanded as well. "Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing," Llamas said. "Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications.”
In 2016, the number of connected wearables worldwide reached 325 million. That number increased to over 400 million so far in 2017, and is expected to hit over 900 million in 2021. The popularity of these wearables have the ability to not only change the technology industry, but the marketing industry as well. 48% of those using wearable tech already are between 18 and 34, while 71% of 16 to 24 year olds want to start using wearable tech. This means most marketers will aim to focus their content on millennials rather than older generations.
Not only have the many advances in wearable technology transformed marketing in general, but healthcare marketing as well. According to a study by Digitas Health, a Philadelphia-based marketing agency, “Wearable tech can be used to track blood pressure, heart rate, the number of steps taken per day and other health-related indicators. Sixty percent of patients think that wearables will improve their health, and 30% use wearables to assist them in disease management.” Geoff McCleary, senior vice president and group director of mobile at Digitas Health explained, “Wearables give you context and the ability to scale data, which equals a higher level of engagement in healthcare.”