SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Accenture Consumer Survey Reveals Market Opportunities in Wearable Technologies

In a consumer electronics world dominated by smartphones, HDTVs, laptop computers and tablet PCs, a new market category is generating significant consumer buying interest: wearable technologies. A new Accenture (NYSE:ACN) survey (Accenture Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014) found that more than half of consumers (52 percent) are interested in buying wearable technologies such as fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing their personal health. The survey of more than 6,000 people in six countries – Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States – showed that many are also interested in buying smart watches (46 percent) and Internet-connected eyeglasses (42 percent).

Wearable technologies deliver a wide range of capabilities: fitness monitors track a person’s heart rate and calories burned, while Internet-connected eyeglass displays enable consumers to browse the Internet, take digital photos and receive hands-free notifications. Among the six countries, consumers in India were most interested in buying fitness monitors (80 percent), smart watches (76 percent) and Internet-enabled eyeglasses (74 percent).

“In the past year wearable technologies have emerged as the next big consumer electronics market category, particularly for health and wellness,” said Mattias Lewren, global managing director of Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech industry group. “To capitalize on this growth opportunity, consumer electronics companies should consider investing in wearable product innovation and industrial design, and building ecosystems that connect wearables to the broader array of interactive digital networks. Every consumer is a digital consumer, and the keen interest in wearable technology provides further evidence of that.”

In addition, the survey found significant consumer interest in purchasing phablets, an emerging category of mobile devices that combine smartphone and tablet PC functions while featuring a screen size of five-to-seven inches – in between a traditional smartphone and a tablet PC. The survey also unveiled strong purchase plans over the next year for traditional smartphones, HDTVs, laptops and tablet PCs.

Consumers crave phablets

More than half of consumers (52 percent) who plan to buy a traditional smartphone in the next year indicated they would prefer a phablet. And while interest in phablets was significant, the surveyed also revealed that consumers continue to show strong interest in buying traditional smartphones and tablet PCs. During the next year, for instance, 52 percent plan to purchase a smartphone and 40 percent a tablet PC. Similarly, 41 percent intend to buy a HDTV and 38 percent a laptop. Consumers’ plans to buy these four types of multi-function devices – typically the most popular product categories in consumer electronics – far exceed the percentages that plan to purchase single-function devices such as home game consoles (25 percent), Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation units (23 percent) and ebook readers (22 percent).

High interest across the board in India

Consistent with their keen interest in buying wearable technologies, consumers in India ranked highest among the six countries in the percentages that plan to buy consumer electronics products during the next year in numerous categories. For example, 80 percent plan to buy a smartphone; more than two-thirds (69 percent) a HDTV; nearly two-thirds (65 percent) a traditional tablet PC, and almost two-thirds (63 percent) a laptop PC.

“India is clearly a major growth market for consumer electronics,” said Lewren. “Craving more personalized digital experiences, the country’s consumers rank among the world’s most willing to pay for and use consumer electronics devices – including wearable technologies.”

Methodology

In October and November 2013, Accenture conducted an online survey of 6,021 consumers in six countries: Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The sample in each country is representative of the online population, with respondents ranging in age from 14 to 55 and over. The survey polled respondents about interest in buying numerous consumer electronics devices such as: 3D TVs; 4K TVs; basic mobile phones; desktop PCs; ebook readers; GPS navigation devices; in-vehicle entertainment systems; HDTVs; home game consoles; laptop PCs; portable gaming devices; regular TV; TV set-top box/cable boxes; smartphones; tablet PCs, and wearable devices.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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