Wearable technology is now big business. By 2019, the industry is predicted to ship almost a quarter of a billion wearable devices, reaching a total market value of US$25 billion. While still a niche sector compared to the mature trillions-strong smartphone industry, it’s resoundingly clear that wearables are here to stay, with consumers increasingly incorporating them into their daily activities.

Such is the story captured by PwC reports The Wearable Future and The Wearable Life 2.0, which looked at the rise of wearable technology around the world in 2014 and 2016. Dividing wearables into five categories — smart clothing, glasses, watches, fitness bands and video devices – we put the spotlight on evolving consumer attitude towards these miniaturised smart devices. One of the key changes is how concerns around privacy and security have eased, most likely because of the wider recognition of benefits such as health tracking and increased productivity.

Although the ongoing story of wearables is mostly a positive one, there is still some way to go. Importantly, wearables do not yet pass the all-important ‘turn around test’, where a user returns home to collect their forgotten device. This suggests there is still some additional ‘stickiness’ required for wearable devices to become as essential as our keys, wallets and smartphones.

 PwC Digital Pulse infographic wearable technology 2016


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John Riccio

John is a former partner at PwC Australia and the founder of Digital Pulse.

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