One in Five (18%) Americans to Purchase a Wearable Device in the Next Year

Ipsos Study Finds Young Adults, Current Owners of Wearable Technology Most Likely to Buy Devices

Monday, December 08, 2014

New York, NY – There has been a lot of hype lately around wearables, but are Americans really taking to these new technologies? In short, the answer is yes! According to recent research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, nearly one in five (18%) American adults say they will probably or definitely purchase a wearable device of some type in the next twelve months, pushing intended category purchases ahead of other popular tech gear, including streaming media devices (16%), eReaders (15%) and 4K TVs (10%).

“We have been tracking consumer attitudes and device adoption for quite some time, and are excited to share our market understanding about this latest category entrant,” says Julia Roland, Vice President with Ipsos MediaCT. “The findings indicate positive news for tech gear brands: we’re seeing robust consumer enthusiasm and promising sales potential across a range of product types.”

Although wearable computers are just starting to enter the market in greater numbers, awareness levels are fairly consistent with the decade-old wearable fitness market. On an overall basis, more than four in ten adults are very familiar with wearable computers (41%) and wearable fitness monitors (46%). Young adults lead in awareness for both wearable computers (54%) and fitness monitors (61%).

Similar to awareness levels, the study found that purchase intent is higher among young adults (26% wearable computers, 31% wearable fitness monitors) and current owners, those who own some kind of wearable technology (66% wearable computers, 45% wearable fitness monitors). Men have especially taken to purchasing wearable computers (19%) compared to their female counterparts (8%), yet purchase intent is equally strong for fitness devices regardless of gender (19% and 18%, respectively).

Spouses who are hoping to receive a wearable device of their own this holiday season may have to settle for sharing with their partner: most plan to buy the devices for themselves. 35% of adults will buy wearable computers for themselves and 19% will buy for a spouse. On the wearable fitness device front, 49% will buy for themselves and 26% will buy for a spouse. Among parents who plan to purchase devices, 23% plan to buy a wearable fitness device and 14% plan to buy a wearable computer device for their child.

Fitness monitors and watches are the devices that consumers express the most interest in. One in five adults overall indicate that they have strong interest in fitness monitors (19%) and watches (23%), with likely purchasers being more than twice as likely to have a strong interest in these devices (56% and 55%, respectively).

“While fitness brands and watches enjoy the highest levels of consumer demand today, our research indicates that likely buyers are also embracing a range of other device types, from jewelry to contact lenses to e-textiles, suggesting great opportunity for the category’s continued expansion” concludes Roland. “As consumer tech products proliferate and evolve, differentiation and brand positioning become increasingly important. Deeper insights into consumer needs and priorities, including how those differ by segment, will help OEMs drive market share.”


These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted in October 2014. For the survey, a sample of 2,011 Americans ages 18+ was interviewed online. The precision of the Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has credibility intervals of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Census data are leveraged to mirror the general population. Factors include: nested gender and age, education, region and household income. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of one per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services
Ipsos in North America
(778) 373-5136

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 86 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,712,4 million (2 274 M$) in 2013.

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One in Five (18%) Americans to Purchase a Wearable Device in the Next Year

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Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America