A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 33 percent of consumers who purchased a wearable item in the past year either do not use them any more or use them infrequently. The reason consumers are putting down their smartwatches is because the items failed to meet expectations and not becasue they have given up on a wearables future.
In PwC's report, The Wearable Future, more than half of millennials and early adopters said they were excited about where the category will go in the future. To get there, however, manufacturers have to overcome complaints about price, privacy and security. Even so, PwC believes there will be more than 130 million units sold by 2018, with others estimating sales could be as high as 180 million units.
PwC anticipates huge returns for brands. Media companies, in particular, were identified as having a huge amount of potential. "[Wearable technologies are] blank canvases for highly targeted message placements, especially in the form of content with greater relevancy and context to the user," PwC said. "But wearable devices won't just create more ad inventory and unleash more publishing subscription revenue—they'll provide a meaningful opportunity to drive product sales and e-commerce."
PwC sees brands connecting with consumers through richer, more interactive entertainment experiences, tighter integration with social media and rewards for loyalty. Brands could work closely with stores to push content to consumers as they shop and eat at restaurants.
"The media company of the future must combine insights with curated experiences and find new ways of monetization—not merely through conventional advertising and paid content offerings," Deborah Bothun, PwC’s U.S. advisory entertainment, media and communications leader, said in a statement. "Wearables offer media companies a huge new frontier of relevance and immersive experiences, helping to engage audiences by providing the most relevant content."