It has become clear to many business owners and marketers that mobile devices are the future for the industry. Just as many consumers can scarcely remember a time when there were no computers or internet, the generation of consumers entering the marketplace now will not be able to remember a time when they couldn’t access the internet at any time and place. However, mobile marketing won’t always be just about smartphones and tablets. The newest trend for marketers to watch for is wearable devices. Wearable devices are growing in popularity and they will provide marketers with new and interesting ways to communicate with consumers.
Despite the good laugh everyone had when Google Glass first premiered, the idea of wearable technology has evolved and become more accepted. According to a recent report from CMO, the early adopters of Google Glass make up a small part of current total Web traffic, but their browsing has increased 135 percent in the past year. This rate of increase is significantly higher than the growth seen in the mobile (38 percent) and tablet (39 percent) categories. Business Intelligence estimates that Google Glass sales could reach 21 million units per year by 2018.
Smart watches are the next big thing. Canaly’s released a report that found the wearable band market grew 684 percent year over year in the first half of 2014. This means companies are planning to make a lot of wearable tech devices in the near future. Similarly, a report from Markets and Markets stated the wearable technology ecosystem market revenue was $4.3 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach to $14 billion by 2018, a growth rate of about 20 percent per year.
So besides being a harbinger of the future cyborg revolution, why should marketers care about consumers with computers on their wrists and on their faces? The first thing to keep in mind is that there are already a lot of people using wearable tech and they are a prime audience if other marketers are ignoring that group.
According to Nielsen, nearly 1 in 6 (15 percent) of US adults use wearable tech like smart watches and fitness bands. They also found that most wearables owners are young, as one would expect. Nielsen reported that 48 percent of wearable tech owners are between 18 and 34 years old. Men and women are equally likely to sport wearable tech. Twenty-nine percent of wearables owners make over $100,000 per year.
An analyst quoted in the Canaly’s study listed above explained the challenge to marketers accurately. “The challenge all [wearable] vendors face is keeping consumers engaged with the devices, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” wrote Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones.
Another challenge marketers will have to watch for is privacy concerns. According to a recently published study from Acricity Group, 80 percent of consumers say they’re concerned about the privacy of wearable tech, but only one third said they wouldn’t want to share data with anyone.
The idea of wearing technology that could be feeding personal data to unwanted parties will make people more discerning about the sites and apps they use on their smart devices. Just as with other forms of internet marketing, business owners will need to construct a policy that promotes their interests but satisfies the concerns of the public they serve.
Since wearable technology is a form of mobile technology, the same reasons why business owners can’t ignore smartphones and tablets are the same reasons why they can’t ignore wearable technology. For more information on the value of mobile marketing for local and small business, read this article on our site.