Wearable tech report
Key global trends in wearable tech
The Smartest Wearable Tech Markets
Key global fluctuations
Wearable tech is big business
Wearable tech is a big business and one of the most cutting edge digital trends to have popped up in recent years.
The type of wearable tech most commonly worn on the wrist falls into two categories: the smartwatch and the fitness band. As the capabilities of these wrist-based devices are only likely to increase and as their affordability improves, it is an already valuable sector with potential to grow enormously and potentially prove extremely lucrative to those investing in it.
Connected adults in China are particularly likely to own a smartwatch and fitness band
Latest findings from our TGI Global Quick View consumer data of connected (internet-using) consumers (aged 16+) across 22 markets around the world reveal a variety of fluctuations in the adoption of each of these wearables in different countries. Across these markets as a whole 12% of connected adults wear a fitness band and 11% a smartwatch.
However, in some markets, a relatively high proportion of internet-using adults own each of these types of wearable tech, with those in China almost two and a half times more likely to own a fitness band and 79% more likely to own a smartwatch than the average connected adult.
Smartwatch vs fitness band popularity
Big variety by market
Other markets tend more towards one than the other. In Turkey, for example, connected consumers are 45% more likely to wear a smartwatch than those across the 22 markets as a whole, but 34% less likely to have a fitness band.
Conversely, in Norway, connected consumers are 37% more likely to own a fitness band than the average such consumer globally, but no more likely to own a smartwatch.
Great Britain is in a similar position, with its consumers 22% more likely to own a fitness band, but almost 20% less likely to own a smartwatch.
Then there are countries where adoption of both types of wearable tech are remarkably low relative to other markets. In Japan, connected consumers are 80% less likely to have a fitness band and 67% less likely to have a smartwatch. Figures for France are similar.
Smartwatch owners especially likely to enjoy the latest tech
Those with a smartwatch are particularly keen on their tech. 79% of them (across all 22 markets collectively) agree ‘I try to keep up with developments in technology’ compared to 72% of those with a fitness band, whilst 73% agree ‘It is important my household is equipped with the latest technology’, compared to 63% of those with a fitness band.
Motoring content of particular interest to wearable tech owners
In terms of engaging smartwatch owners, TGI Global Quick View reveals that when it comes to the content that most interests them, they are over twice as likely to regularly read about motoring and just under twice as likely to read about property. Fitness band users are also especially engaged by motoring content compared to the average connected consumer.
When it comes to social media activity, fitness band owners and smartwatch owners alike are particularly likely to be heavy users of Linkedin, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter. When it comes to offline media, they are especially likely to be heavy consumers of newspapers and magazines.
Both groups are particularly likely to have bought alcohol or energy drinks online and offline ‘in the last four weeks’.
Spotlight on Great Britain
Wearable tech trends
We have seen that British consumers are particularly likely to own a fitness tracker compared to consumers in other markets.
The chart below from our social media analysis data reveals how much more social chatter leading activity tracker Fitbit has seen in the UK compared to other European markets.
Geographically, these fitness tracker owners are particularly likely to live in Scotland (23% more likely than the average adult), but a fifth less likely than the average adult to live in the East Midlands.
Lets take a closer look...
Parents particularly likely to have a fitness band
Those Brits with a fitness tracker are also particularly likely to be parents according to the ‘Lifestage’ segmentation on the Great Britain TGI consumer data.
They are 51% more likely than the average adult to be ‘Primary School Parents’ (live with son or daughter and youngest child is aged 5-9), 50% more likely to be ‘Secondary School Parents’ (live with son or daughter and youngest child is aged 10-15) and 36% more likely to be ‘Playschool Parents’ (live with son or daughter and youngest child is aged 0-4).
This may be in part due to efforts to keep an eye on activity as part of the hectic day-to-day parental schedule, when finding time for organised exercise is hard.
Owners of smart watches are also more likely than the average adult to be parents, but they are especially likely to be ‘Nest Builders’ (aged 15-34 married or living as a couple and do not live with son or daughter).
Looking good and spending freely - the motivations of fitness band owners
Those Brits with fitness trackers are particularly likely to place a lot of emphasis on their appearance compared to the average adult, which may explain why they wear a fitness band in the first place.
They are 54% more likely to agree ‘I like it when my nails attract attention, 42% more likely to agree ‘wearing make-up makes me more self-confident’ and 47% more likely to agree ‘I enjoy experimenting with make-up to change my appearance’.
Fitness tracker owners are especially likely to be tempted to buy products they've seen advertised
They are also not shy to open their wallets and purses, with TGI consumer data revealing that they are 39% more likely to agree ‘I’m tempted to buy products I’ve seen advertised’ and 38% more likely to agree ‘I love to buy new gadgets and appliances’.
Do you think your clients are particularly likely to be smartwatch owners or fitness band owners?
- Fitness band
Those who have a smartwatch are particularly likely to feel influenced in their purchase decisions by celebrities and to say they buy new products before most of their friends.
Being seen is also important to them – they are over twice as likely to agree that they like others to look at them. Perhaps then owning a smartwatch represents another means to impress their friends and have something ‘cool’ to show off.
Reaching the wearable owners - achieving the best media mix
Fitness tracker owners are particularly likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of users of mobile internet (80% more likely), cinema (51% more likely) and outdoor media (38% more likely), compared to the average adult.
Smartwatch owners have similar media predilections, being particularly likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of cinema (over twice as likely), mobile internet (84% more likely) and gaming (78% more likely).
Fitness tracker owners into romance films - smartwatch owners not so much
Although owners of both types of wearable tech are especially likely to enjoy cinema, their favourite films are likely to be different. Owners of fitness trackers are 27% more likely than the average cinema goer to site romance films as their favourite type, but smartwatch owners are 20% less likely than the average cinema goer to rate this as a favourite film type.
On the other hand, smart watch owners are 95% more likely than the average cinema goer to cite martial arts films as their favourite type, whilst fitness tracker owners are only 23% more likely.
Whilst wearable tech might be big business, some markets have embraced it - and particular facets of it - with far more gusto than others.
Who would have predicted a market as tech-loving as Japan would have such relatively low take up of smartwatches and fitness trackers, whilst neighbouring China has got behind this tech with much enthusiasm?
This shows the value to marketers of truly understanding global fluctuations as well as being able to dig down in granular detail at the local level in order to ensure that the most targeted audiences can be revealed and engaged and campaigns optimised.
The combination of TGI Global Quick View providing key global insights and the local depth of country-specific TGI consumer data studies meets both key targeting needs.