The next big thing, or a big bust? The jury’s still out on that particular question when it comes to wearables, but according to new research from Juniper Research, consumers certainly aren’t willing to lay down the big bucks for these gadgets. In a survey of over 2,000 smartphone owners in the U.S. and the UK, only one in five respondents said they were willing to spend more than $175 on any kind of wearable. And considering that the Apple Watch and other recently released high-end devices start at nearly double that price, things aren’t looking too rosy for potential sales numbers.
That being said, survey results found that consumers apparently want what they can’t have — despite reporting limited budgets, the research also found that the vast majority of participants preferred the Apple and Samsung brands. In fact, over 75 percent of respondents said they’d opt for one of these two makers if given the choice, despite the fact that they also produce the most expensive wearables on the market.
Apple with its Apple Watch (which starts at $349) won the coolest brand honor from Juniper Research, but the overall problem that buyers seem to have identified with wearables is their lack of clear functionality. Whereas fitness trackers like the FitBit or Pebble have a clearly defined use case (and are significantly cheaper to boot), it’s a bit unclear how having the equivalent of your phone on your wrist is particularly useful on a daily basis.
This sentiment was recently echoed by the BuzzFeed staff. When the editorial team was surveyed on their feelings about their (free) Apple Watches, the media site found that “the majority felt it wasn’t worth its price ($350+) and said they wouldn’t recommend it to others.” In fact, an overwhelming 80 percent said they “wouldn’t recommend that someone else buy an Apple Watch” due to “limited app and overall functionality, less than desirable battery life, and a confusing interface.”
So if you haven’t jumped on the wearable bandwagon yet, chances are you’re not alone. And really, you may be on the right side of the fence on this one.