Wearables users say accuracy most important feature

Log in to save this page.
wearables graphic

A recent national survey on wearable technology devices ("wearables") revealed that consumers consider accuracy the most important feature of wearables, and more than half of those who do not own a wearable would consider buying one if they trusted the accuracy.

The survey findings were announced by Valencell, a leading innovator in performance biometric data sensor technology, and MEMS & Sensors Industry Group, the trade association advancing Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and sensors across global markets.

The online survey polled 706 U.S. consumers, ages 18-65, on their knowledge and preferences around wearables, which were defined as a device, clothing and/or accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies.

Among those surveyed, more than 42 percent of respondents own or have owned a wearable device, and the majority (63 percent) ranked accuracy as a highly important feature of that wearable. Among wearable owners, 80 percent feel that their wearable has a positive impact on their health. For those who do not own a wearable, 74 percent of would consider using one if accuracy in wearables could help them to better manage their health.

"These survey results are testament to Valencell's view that accurate and interesting insights are critical to the success of the wearable industry, and are the biggest drivers of growth today," said Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Valencell. "More consumers than ever before are looking to biometric wearables to monitor their health and fitness, and wearables that cannot be trusted for accuracy will ultimately lose out to wearables that have been properly validated."  

While most wearable owners find functions such as step counting, heart rate monitoring and notifications most useful, they would also like their wearable to monitor additional health metrics, including stress, blood pressure, sunlight/UV exposure, hydration, and key vitamin and supplement levels.

"MEMS and sensors are critical components in more accurate wearables," said Karen Lightman, executive director, MEMS & Sensors Industry Group. "That's because the devices themselves, from accelerometers, gyros and pressure sensors to heart rate monitors and environmental sensors are delivering ever higher levels of granularity while consuming less power in smaller footprints. Beyond accuracy, MEMS and sensors make wearables more interesting because they literally sense the world around us. With so much advanced functionality now at their disposal, I am convinced that wearables designers will introduce new and compelling products that consumers will consider must-have rather than just nice-to-own."

Key findings of the survey are below. An executive summary of the survey and infographic can also be found at valencell.com/blog.

Accuracy Trumps Cost as a Barrier to Wearable Ownership 

Nearly half of all respondents own or have owned a wearable device, with the most popular form factors being wristbands, earbuds and smartwatches. Among notable findings:

Consumers Want More than Just Step Counting   

Consumers who own wearables like to use the data provided to check on progress, and many feel the wearable has helped improve their performance. While respondents find step counting and heart rate monitoring the most useful functions, they would also like to be able to monitor additional health conditions and metrics. These findings support anecdotal stories that consumers care less about the raw metrics and more about assessments derived from raw metrics. Among notable findings:

Accuracy is Key to Valuable Health Insights 

Accuracy, comfort, and battery life topped the list of highly important features in wearables. Of those who currently own a wearable, 80% feel that the wearable has positively impacted their health. Among notable findings: 

Of those who own wearables, more than half wear their device every day. However, more than a third have discontinued use of their wearable for reasons that include the hassle of recharging the wearable and their perception that it was not accurate enough and they didn't trust the data. Among notable findings: