“This is like the early days of the mobile phone, when the phones were bricks. We are at the early stages.” – Ivo Stivoric, vice president of research and development at Jawbone.”
By the end of 2014, wearable companies will have shipped a projected 7.6 million units within the US, an almost 200% increase over the year before. It’s a clear sign that the wearable market continues to grow in the US. Still, relatively few consumers own a wearable.
In the summer of 2014, PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) and Consumer Intelligence Series (CIS) sought to better understand American consumers’ attitudes toward wearables through a consumer survey, focus groups with technology thought leaders and interviews with executives from inside and outside of the health industry. Here are the key findings of the HRI’s report, Health wearables: Early days.
- Consumers have not embraced health wearable technology in large numbers, but they are interested. Technology companies hoping to exploit this nascent interest will have to create affordable products offering greater value both for users and their healthcare partners.
- Most consumers do not want to pay much for their wearable devices. They would rather be paid to use them, and companies—especially insurers—offering incentives for use may gain traction. HRI’s survey found that 68% of consumers would wear employer-provided wearables streaming anonymous data to a database in exchange for breaks on insurance premiums.
- Simple social strategies might not work well for health wearables. Few consumers are interested in sharing health data with friends and family. Social media strategies for health wearables must be engaging, interoperable and intelligent if they are to succeed.
- Consumers remain concerned about privacy. But they trust clinicians more with their data than any other entity. To retain that trust, companies will need to be transparent about what is being done with the data.
- Glimpses into the health wearable future are visible. More than one million customers transmit data from fitness trackers to Walgreen Co., in exchange for points that can be used like cash in the company’s stores and through its website for many products.