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Wearable devices need to be more useful: Gartner

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The abandonment rate of smartwatches is 29%, and 30% for fitness trackers, because people do not find them useful, they get bored of them or they break, a new report from research and advisory firm Gartner showed.

“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.”

According to the report, smartwatch adoption is still in the early stages (10%) along with fitness trackers reaching early mainstream stages (19%). Also, only 8% of consumers have used VR glasses/head-mounted displays (excluding cardboard types).

It also claims that people typically purchase smartwatches and fitness trackers for their own use, with 34% of fitness trackers and 26% of smartwatches given as gifts.

Virtual Reality Headset for Gaming (Getty Images/Moment Open)

“Continued growth in the adoption of smartwatches and fitness trackers will now be from mainstream consumers instead of early technology adopters,” said McIntyre. “The greatest hurdle for fitness tracker and smartwatch providers to overcome is the consumer perception that the devices do not offer a compelling enough value proposition.”

While US is the leading smartwatch market with 12% adoption, according to the report, UK and Australia are trailing behind with 9% and 7% adoption.

“The key to creating a value proposition to interest mainstream consumers is lifestyle messages around health tracking and the convenience of receiving alerts on the wrist, instead of via the phone,” said McIntyre. “The benefit will increase as these devices gain the capability to function more independently from the phone.”

“Smartwatch usage is clearly higher among people 44 years old and younger. More than half of people who use a smartwatch (58%) use it every day, and those who don’t (33%) use it at least several times a week,” she explained.

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