Summits Yellow

£51m of Wearables Sold in UK So Far This Year

Tim Maytom

Smart watch420,000 wearable devices have been sold in the UK so far throughout 2014, with a value of £51m.

While wearables are becoming an increasingly accepted sector of consumer technology, and have shown considerable growth in the past few years, they are still a way from becoming a mass market product, with price the largest factor in this. 28 per cent of consumers say cost is the most important criteria when considering a wearable.

Health and fitness trackers dominate the market, with a 39 per cent market share of all wearables sold, followed by wrist sport computers with 26 per cent and action cameras, headsets & glasses at 24 per cent.

Smart watches, despite a number of high profile launches including the upcoming Apple Watch, make up only 11 per cent of the sector, held back by the lack of a clear function and a perception that they are not aesthetically pleasing.

The research, carried out by GfK, suggests that brand names are still important when it comes to wearables, with 47 per cent preferring to purchases an activity tracker from a well-known technology company, rather than a sports, fashion or watch company. This preference is reflected internationally, with comparative figures in China (54 per cent), Germany (51 per cent) and the US (42 per cent).

While wearables are still moving towards mainstream use in terms of sales, UK consumers seem ready to accept them, with 38 per cent looking to be able to control the TV with a smart watch, and 36 per cent interested in home control via wearable devices.

"There's no question wearable activity trackers have caught on – but with a small percentage of the population," said Anne Biulianotti, director at GfK. "Other wearables don't have much market penetration at the moment, yet the functionality does. This research suggests there is a bit of a disconnect.

"Manufacturers need to think about educating consumers not only about wearables, but about the possibilities of the smart home and smart car – as well as all the other options from the Internet of Things – if they are to convince people that the functionality offered is worthy of the price."