Accuracy in Wearables a Top Priority for Consumers

Nearly three-quarters of consumers believe that accuracy in wearable technology will one day be able to directly affect your health, according to a survey by Valencell.

health and wearables

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, according to a survey by Valencell, a provider of performance biometric data sensor technology.

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

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all respondents believe that accuracy in wearable technology will one day be able to directly affect your health.

"It's clear consumers just expect their wearables to be accurate and get upset if they aren't accurate, particularly during the activities the device is advertised to work in," Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell, told eWEEK. "More than half of consumers aren't particularly interested in a sleep-worn wearable, which opens up big opportunities for sports wearables and day-worn wearables, such as fashion products."

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.

Among those surveyed, more than 42 percent of respondents own or have owned a wearable device, and the majority (63 percent) ranked accuracy as the most important feature of that wearable.

Of those who own a wearable, 52 percent own a wristband, 36 percent own earbuds and 32 percent own a smartwatch—the survey also found 42 percent purchased the wearable to track overall activity and 28 percent purchased one to manage weight.

The survey found 35 percent of wearable owners feel step counting is the most useful function, while 18 percent find heart rate monitoring most useful and 12 percent find the notifications most useful.

Among wearable owners, 80 percent said they feel that their wearable has a positive impact on their health, and for those who do not own a wearable, 74 percent said they would consider using one if accuracy in wearables could help them to better manage their health.

"Consumers seem to assume that the wearables they buy will do what is advertised, and they are not generally aware of how inaccurate these products may be at first," LeBoeuf explained. "However, when consumers become doubtful of the accuracy of their wearables, they ultimately become uninterested in the products because they don't deliver continually valuable insights. So you can fool them at the start, but the charade doesn't last long."

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 including the hassle of recharging the wearable and their perception that the wearable was not accurate enough and they didn't trust the data.