Most shoppers are still trying to figure out what to think about wearable technology, which picked up momentum with the Apple Watch introduction last year, but is still trying to find its place in the world.
A survey of 1,060 American consumers by research firm Colloquy found that 52 percent of shoppers said they don’t know enough about wearables and don’t understand them.
But there are the technophiles fueling growth in the area — which both tech and fashion companies are jumping into in an effort to be prepared if it turns out to be the next big thing. International Data Corp. recently estimated that global shipments of wearables would jump 38.2 percent to 110 million units this year. And more mainstream brands are launching wearable offerings, such as Michael Kors, which introduced its first line this month.
Thirty-five percent of Colloquy’s respondents said that wearable technology is nerdy, but “cool nerdy” and 27 percent said they “used to hate shopping but with my wearable I love it.”
Wearables range from fitness trackers and smart jewelry to logged in shirts and other items all vying for relevancy. Some, like the Google Glass, failed to catch on with consumers while others, including the Apple Watch, are viewed skeptically.
Colloquy said: “Consumers are guessing whether prices will go down, and wondering if they’re ahead of, or behind, the fashion curve. They’re still doing their research. Some are concerned about age appropriateness.”
Among the consumers taking part in the survey:
* 33 percent said wearables make a fashion-forward statement.
* 41 percent said, “I’d be more likely to place a wearable on my pet than on myself.”
* 36 percent said wearables are a passing fad.
* 58 percent said, “I’d like to use a wearable device but I’m too old.”
* 35 percent said people who use wearable devices are just trying to show off.
“Wearables work on several levels for retailers,” said Jeff Berry, research director at Colloquy. “Keep it fun. Keep it dynamic and court the mighty Millennials. Retailers should consider sending one-to-one, targeted offers to shoppers’ wearable devices, including on-the-fly pricing adjustments based on inventory and even time of day.”