Consumer dissatisfaction with wearable tech

3rd July 2018
Lanna Deamer

Wearable technology has become a part of many people’s everyday lives, with the latest, flashiest smart technology becoming increasingly sought after for both practical and fashionable purposes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the number of connected wearable devices worldwide is expected to jump from 325 million in 2016 to over 830 million by 2020. 

By Matt Pick, Director of Commercial Operations at Plastic Logic

Wearables technology has improved tremendously which has seen it adopted across a range of sectors - from FashTech to fitness and even in medicine, with wearable technology evolving to help solve some of the biggest problems in healthcare. 

With the acceleration of the wearable tech market, one might expect that it was packed with highly satisfied customers. However, our recent survey of nearly 2,000 wearable consumers suggests that consumer satisfaction levels leave a lot to be desired. Forty seven percent of respondents to our survey were dissatisfied with the user experience, particularly when it comes to practicality and ease of use in everyday situations.

The reoccurring causes of frustration for the customers surveyed stemmed from basic functionality, and common pitfalls we find with modern technology. For example, 72% of users would find longer battery life more compelling, and similar frustrations stemmed from the screen of the device; more than 50% have problems viewing the screen in bright sunlight, and a further 40% have concerns about the vulnerability of the screen, should their device be subject to scratches or cracks.

When it comes to aesthetics we see that wearables have real opportunities to become more futuristic both inside and out. However, longevity of use is a big issue , with this study finding that more than half of consumers who previously purchased a fitness tracker no longer use it.

If consumers no longer use their devices, they’re less likely to upgrade devices in the future or recommend them to friends/family... and this is where wearable brands will suffer commercially in the long term. Wearable product designers must do something to finetune product innovation and the user experience to keep up with user demand or they will lose out when it comes to long term customer loyalty.

Evolving with ePaper
One approach is the implementation of flexible, plastic ePaper displays, that can provide a wide range of benefits to combat common user frustrations and streamline the overall customer experience. Robust, sunlight readable and low power consumption qualities go above and beyond traditional glass displays.

Problems stemming from tradition have been around for decades, and wearable devices should be paving the way for the technological future we anticipated. However, instead it appears that wearable manufacturers are failing to meet the needs of consumers and are instead leaving them disappointed.

This is where future-facing EPD technology can facilitate solutions to existing problems and cater to the needs of consumers in a range of markets - from sports and fashion to medicine. Their lightweight, customisable and durable nature can help turn disappointing products into exceptional ones.

Companies like Liber8, Sony and Pebble Technology have already incorporated ePaper into the wearable devices they manufacture, allowing them to successfully address many of the drawbacks previously experienced with glass displays - particularly when it comes to the frustration of smashing or cracking the screen of your device, or having it run out of power before the day is over.

With the wearables market expecting further growth with fresh designs hitting the market every week, consumers are constantly trying out new devices that they hope will meet their needs. In order to stay relevant and savvy, brands should improve their designs to stand out in a competitive market, and ensure they take care to resolve customer dissatisfaction as soon as possible.

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