Product Engineering // Blog

Wearables Need to Get Cheaper and More Useful – Report

If wearable health devices are going to be a household item or commonplace accessory, they’re going to have to get cheaper and more useful.

There are many popular fitness, nutrition and lifestyle apps available, such as MapMyRun, Sleep Cycle and Moves, to name a few. But they are often used only by self-starters (think: the co-worker on a 6AM run before heading to the office). Wearables still have a long way to go if they are going to reach mainstream consumers, especially in terms of cost.

A recent study found that most consumers would only be willing to use wearable devices if they were free or at a price point of about $100.

hri-consumsers-lower-priced-free

The study also suggested that consumers are more open to the idea of wearing an employer-or-insurance-sponsored device, particularly if it means they’ll pay lower premiums or have increased accessibility to health results.

In addition to cost, privacy and ease of use are the other big concerns.

Forty-three percent don’t feel comfortable sharing health information with their friends or family. But because healthcare providers already hold consumers’ confidential health records, many are more willing to trust providers with their data.

PwC-Art-4

Despite these concerns, wearables still have the potential to justify the hype. “As wearable technology becomes cheaper and more sophisticated, and data quality improves, these devices and their associated apps will become a part of consumers’ lives and the health ecosystem,” the report states.

For now, wearables still face a classic chicken-and-egg problem: until consumers adopt these devices, developers and providers won’t want to build services around them, but consumers won’t  adopt the devices until there’s enough reason to do so.

As wearable devices like the Apple Watch become more popular, we’ll start to see more and more healthcare platforms that make use of the unprecedented access to consumer health information that these devices offers. The potential for wearables to help modernize our healthcare system is enormous, but we’re not there yet.

For more on wearables, don’t miss Applico Managing Director Sam Fankuchen on How to Do Wearables the Right Way.

Images from: PwC report, “Health Wearables: Early Days”

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