Wearables on the rise

New survey data shows 18% of Canadians currently own a piece of wearable tech, with 20% looking to adopt soon.

Despite being a new frontier in the tech world, wearables are a more likely purchase among the general population than ever before, according to the latest Nielsen Connected Life survey focusing on the trend.

From Nov. 6 to 13, Nielsen surveyed 2,035 Canadians representative of the country’s population to determine how many people are currently using wearable devices and how many are looking to enter the space, and the differences between the two groups. The report was presented yesterday at an event for Toronto-based tech group We Are Wearables focused on smartwatches.

Overall, 79% of those surveyed had at least heard about wearable tech, although only 40% knew what it actually did. This shows that there is room to grow in terms of awareness, but the use of wearables might be more prevalent than one might assume. Of those surveyed, 18% currently own some piece of wearable tech, and 20% said they intended to in the near future. When it comes to smartwatches alone, 3% currently owns one. Before the end of the year, 4% of the general population will purchase a new smartwatch, with 9% doing so by this time in 2015.

The report also suggests that current smartwatch users are tech enthusiasts: 39% of current owners intend to buy a new smartwatch within the next 12 months.

Among these smartwatch owners, 44% are wearing it every day, compared to 22% who wear it a few times a week and 7% that only wear it a few times each month.

For those intending to own a smartwatch in the near future, 54% were excited about the ability to receive text message notifications, with 43% looking forward to receiving email notifications. Fitness tracking is still a major motivator in the wearables space, with 43% saying they wanted to utilize the fitness tracking capabilities of a smartwatch. Cynthia Pachovski, Nielsen group director, said in her presentation that these numbers fall in line with what smartwatch owners are already doing with their devices, except when it comes to making calls (which they don’t typically do), which 36% of prospective buyers said was an attractive feature.

The study also created an index showing which groups were more likely to be users and future purchasers of wearables and smartwatches. Most of those interested in the tech are, predictably, between the ages of 18 and 24, although 35- to 44-year-olds are well-represented among those currently using wearables. Those living in Vancouver and Toronto are also more likely to to be using wearable tech.

Early adopters are, obviously, more likely to currently own a piece of wearable tech. In terms of economic factors, more people making over $80,000 a year are using wearables than those in other income levels, but those making between $40,000 and $80,000 are well-represented among those looking to make a wearable purchase in the future.

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