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CES: Smartwatches only at 1%

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A survey by TNS shows that, despite a massive increase in awareness and a flood of exhibitors at CES, use of smartwatches has reached only 1% of the US population.

Wearable technology is here. Everywhere you look, new gadgets that can be attached, strapped on, or donned arrive on the market igniting an explosion of creativity from both start-ups and traditional tech companies. At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), last week, companies came ready to show off new watches, wristbands, eyeglasses and much more. Yet, despite the deluge of marketing dollars being spent to bring these products to market, the consumer is just not that interested.

According to a new study by TNS, a global research consultancy, the awareness levels of wearable products is quite high, yet consumer adoption isn’t following suit. For example, since August of 2013, awareness in the Smartwatch technology in the United States has gone from a modest 49% to an astounding 80%. And while this level of awareness is positive for manufacturers, the lack of use of the products is not. Of those surveyed, only 1% are actually using the wearable technology.

‚”There are a number of reasons why consumers are reluctant to adapt to wearing these devices,‚” said Brian Cooper, Senior Vice President of TNS and author of the study. ‚”The technology is still quite expensive for mass adoption, but the most critical part of this is that the technology forces a change in behavior and we’ve seen that when this is required, change is often slow.‚”

The problem is not just with Smartwatches.

According to the TNS study, the same trend that is occurring with Smartwatches can be seen across other wearable tech categories. The pattern is consistent with head-mounted devices like Google Glass, where awareness has increased from 52% in August 2013 to 64% today, yet usage is still around 1% of respondents.

‚”There has been great momentum developing in the wearables category, but the consumer market hasn’t begun to adopt this new technology,‚” Cooper said. ‚”While it’s too soon to say whether wearables is the next big thing or not, it’s clear that tech companies have their work cut out for them.‚”

The TNS survey was conducted 10 times from August 2013 to January 2014. In each wave of the study, 1000 US consumers aged 18-64 from the US participated.

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