National iPod Day is celebrated on October 23 to recognize one of the first big smart devices to hit the consumer market. Since being unveiled by Steve Jobs on that day in 2001, over 400 million of the devices have been sold, and although smartphones like Apple’s own iPhone have pretty much replaced the need for a self-contained music player, the iPod Touch is still available for purchase.
Smart devices have evolved a lot since Apple unveiled the iPod, and now there’s an entirely new market of wearable consumer electronics devices that seem to be everywhere. The most common current types of wearable technology include:
- Smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch enable owners to answer phone calls, track fitness, and track sleep.
- Smart rings are jewelry that can have many of the features of a smartwatch.
- Smart clothing that uses tech-infused fabric to track your biometric data or let owners control other devices.
- Advanced medical tech such as wearable electrocardiograms (ECGs) that track your heart rhythm and other health-purpose on-body technology.
- Head-mounted displays (HMDs) like Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets and other displays create immersive gaming and other Virtual Reality experiences.
Here are some of the latest wearable gadgets to check out:
- The Ōura Ring is a fashionable new wearable worn by celebrities like Jennifer Anniston and Prince Harry & Megan. This device “combines advanced sensor technology and a minimal design with an easy-to-use mobile app to deliver precise, personalized health insights straight from the most reliable source: your body.”
- Parents of kids with epilepsy can sleep a bit easier these days. Empatica’s embrace 2 is the only FDA-approved wrist wearable for patients who need to monitor seizures and alert caregivers.
- Meditation is thousands of years old, but now it’s gone digital and wearable. The Muse 2 is a multi-sensor meditation device that “provides real-time feedback on your brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and body movements to help you build a consistent meditation practice.”
- The Ray-Ban Stories is the famous sunglasses brand’s first smart glasses. It offers “dual cameras to capture and share first-person shot videos, and also include speakers and microphones to listen to music and handle phone calls.”
Insights for Wearables Brands: What’s Hot, Not, & Next
The wearable technology industry is extremely hot and projected to grow worldwide from $116.2 billion in 2021 to $265.4 billion by 2026. Some of the reasons for this intense growth include consumer interest in high-tech gadgets, the increasing popularity of connected devices, and the rise of medical-related wearables with sensors used to monitor health. But, with consumer preferences with electronics changing each year, how does a wearables brand keep up with these shifts?
Consumer and market intelligence platforms like Skai are increasingly used by wearable consumer electronics brands looking to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the category and ensure that their marketing messaging is on-point.
Skai collects more data than anyone else relevant to wearable consumer electronics (social reviews, product listings, ratings, reviews, patents, etc.) so that brands don’t miss a thing. Then, we apply natural language processing so that it’s easy to extract what is happening in the wearable consumer electronics category and why — and what will happen in the future. And we visualize the data in a way that makes it easy to understand for anyone from Insights, Marketing, Brand, Product Innovation, and more.
Our Wearable Consumer Electronics category includes data from over:
- 135,000+ products
- 957,000+ consumer discussions
- 384,000+ product reviews
- 9,900+ key opinion leader posts
- 6,100+ patents
So what is the data showing us? Let’s take a look!
- Bluetooth Connectivity is still the primary way that wearable devices connect with the Internet of Things and would seem to be the defacto integration technology for the near future. Not only are 101,000+ consumer electronics products that Skai monitors enabled with Bluetooth Connectivity, but 52,000 of those products were released in just the last twelve months alone.
- Water Resistant is another widespread feature of wearable electronics. After all, with all of the hand washing during the pandemic, you’re bound to splash a little water on the devices you have with you all of the time. As a result, there has been a 74% growth in consumer electronic social media posts mentioning this benefit and a 69% increase in product reviews about these products.
- Noise Canceling is ante these days when it comes to headphones. Nearly 9,000 wearable products highlight this feature, and there has been a 386% growth in new consumer electronics patents in the last five years to highlight Noise Canceling.
- Built-In Speaker. While music devices used to focus on the quality of their Built-In Speakers, the rise of high-end headphones has begun to see this feature begin to decline over the last several years. There has been a 42% drop in product reviews for wearables that mention Built-in Speakers over the previous twelve months.
- Audio Jacks are starting to become a thing of the past since Apple debuted the iPhone 7 without one in 2016, thus ushering in the era of Bluetooth-only devices. While the Audio Jack can still be found on some phones, the buzz around them has been relatively flat, with just an 8% year-over-year increase in social buzz and a mild 6% growth in product reviews over the same period.
- Wide Angle Lenses were all the rage just a few years ago, but new digital technology has enabled standard smartphone cameras to have wider lenses than their predecessors. As a result, there has been a 59% drop in wearable social media posts mentioning them in the last twelve months and zero product reviews of wearables with Wide Angle Lenses the previous year.
- Heart Rate Monitors seem to be the big new trend in wearable technology right now. More than 180 Key Opinion Leader posts in the consumer electronics sector have mentioned this feature in the last 12 months. There were also 11,000 new wearable products released in the previous year with Heart Rate Monitors as part of their feature set.
- Image Stabilization is something that consumer electronics brands should keep an eye out for in the coming years. There has been a 100% growth in wearable product reviews mentioning Image Stabilization in the last twelve months.
- Proximity Sensors are heating up with a 143% growth in new wearable consumer electronics products released last year. This tech is very versatile and is used in a wide variety of wearable devices.
Top Wearables Brands (by # of consumer discussions, Aug 2021)
The Wearables trend to watch: Comfort
Without fail, every year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), brands wow and dazzle us with the newest cutting-edge features. But, a new trend in wearable technology is less about the latest bells & whistles and more about the simple human need for comfort.
After all, if a wearable isn’t comfortable to wear, then chances are its owners won’t get the full benefits of the gadget. Less usage means less consumer buzz and fewer sales. Whether it’s about lighter smartphones or smart clothing that just fits and feels better, it would seem that cutting-edge tech might start taking a back seat to less impressive digital features but are comfier to wear.
Product reviews for wearable consumer electronics that mention the benefit of Comfort of Wearing have grown a staggering 2426% in the last year. And, out of the 57,000+ wearable tech products that Skai monitors, more than 35,000 of them have been released in the previous year—an 853% growth.
To find out what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s next in your industry, please reach out today to schedule a brief demo of Skai’s market intelligence platform.