One-third of wearable buyers abandon their device within six months

One-third of wearable buyers abandon their device within six months
The general wisdom from most tech outlets is that we are at the beginning of a wearable tech revolution. Unfortunately, while most can see the potential of wearables, it's hard to say that any device has lived up to that potential yet. Users want to believe, so they keep buying wearables, but a new study shows that many (if not most) users abandon those devices fairly quickly.

Early in its life, there were reports that the Samsung Galaxy Gear was seeing return rates as high as 30%. More recently, there have been quite a lot of Galaxy Gear smartwatches popping up on eBay. But, the more interesting info comes from research by Endeavour Partners, which states that one-third of American consumers who purchased a wearable product have stopped using the device within six months. Even worse, one in ten American adults have reportedly owned an activity tracker of some kind, but half no longer use their device. This matches data found by CCS Insight last year, which said that 40% of wearable owners had abandoned the device. 

Of course, knowing that people have stopped using their wearables doesn't help to explain why this is happening. Though, it seems safe to assume that the problem has been that there is no real killer wearable yet. The Pebble is the best smartwatch on the market, but not many people own one. Gear smartwatches can be useful, but are expensive and require that you own a Galaxy smartphone as well. Plenty of people own fitness trackers, but they are really only valuable to those who are very serious about fitness. Just like people will abandon diets and gym memberships, so too will they abandon fitness trackers. 

Wearables will likely find their way, but the question is when. There is definitely potential with Android Wear, and Google Now feels like it could be the killer app that smartwatches have needed, but we still don't know that the platform can make good on its promises. We still have absolutely no idea what to expect from any potential iOS or Windows wearables, so its hard to put much hope there either. 

What do you think? Can wearables live up to the potential that we imagine? Does a current device already do that?

source: The Guardian

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19 Comments

1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I want the new Moto watch. That thing is BEAUTIFUL.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Pebble Steel is sexy too.

7. maherk

Posts: 6705; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I am getting the gear fit and the Moto 360

3. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I'm staying with my trusty 5" slab. Who would want a cumbersome 1.5" device that is always attached to your wrist and will never be as enjoyable to use as a proper smartphone? Even a beautiful design like the Moto 360 does not make it any more practical or fun.

4. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Watch has it use, its not meant to replace the larger screen phone. For me it meant to provide quick and timely information. I can't forget the number of time the watch has reminded me that I have left my phone on the desk of a coffee stall. Display unknown number from telemarketers that I quickly cancel with minimal fuss. Alert me on the latest game result without me asking or a share has reach the desired price to buy or sell. Anyway I do acknowledge these are good to have features and I have it.

19. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

The problem is that it isn't a seamless experience. By that I mean having to charge it, syncing probably requires a bit more work than it should. The problem also exists with smartphones but we are more tolerant to it. I have like 10 devices at home and I hate having to make sure they all get their turns charging. I think the real revolution in tech will be when true wireless charging becomes widely available. A4WP is the best route I think and they should get that up and working ASAP.

6. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

The problem with many wearables is either they are not that comfortable or b they are too big and look out of place on your wrist. I own a basis b1 which I love but it falls under both of those categories I would never wear it out on a Saturday night. The moto 360 looks nice but if its too thick or too big on my wrist I wouldn't imagine buying it. This is just the start of wearables I'm sure over time this issue will be solved. Looking forward to the future!

8. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

These numbers aren't that interesting to me. For fitness trackers, how many people buy a treadmill and not use it? How many people buy a gym membership and never go? For "smartwatches", how many people buy a $250+ watch only to wear it just a few times a year? These numbers are to be expected in my opinion.

11. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

That's not a very good comparison. People stop going to the gym because they get lazy and people stop using their gadgets probably because its not as functional (or practical) as they believed it to be. If wearables are suppose to be the next tech revolution, then these numbers don't fly.

15. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

My point was that just because they are gadgets doesn't mean they stop getting used due to not being functional. There are plenty of possible reasons. And since fitness trackers are specifically for fitness, comparison with gym membership is fair.

9. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Don't think it's relevant . Having a wearable tech looks so stupid. Why not just buy a Rolex even if its expensive we know for a fact that its an investment in the long run.

10. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I personally don't think that wearables will ever be popular among the general public, but I wouldn't mind checking out a Nokia smartwatch or glass.

12. mixedfish

Posts: 1544; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Some people even abandon phones in 6 months.

13. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

The difficult part will be marketing them to the general public. We know tech savvy people want them, and the general benefit of quick notifications for us is obvious, but for people who aren't as connected to their devices won't be yearning for these. For most people, pulling their phone out to answer a text or call don't outweigh the downside of having to charge the battery every 1.5-2 days. The huge boom will come when it can last a 1-1.5 weeks on a charge. As stated in other comments, we are at the cusp of something that could be a huge, it's only a matter of time.

14. AhmadAlsayegh

Posts: 326; Member since: Jul 18, 2011

I have a Jawbone UP, and I gotta say, it got boring, and I don't think these things have a future with me...I even barely synchronize it

20. rdaex

Posts: 152; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

agreed.. if It didnt help me sell it, I never would have gotten one. Im a fat lazy bastard.. lol

16. fuelband

Posts: 28; Member since: Jul 19, 2013

I think wearables haven't reached their full potential yet n Android Wear could be the answer to all of these. If not, there's still Apple iWatch. We'll see. Not yet late.

17. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

I can relate to this with my experience with watches, I ended up throwing it in a drawer when I went about 4 months with it. I do hope I get over this when a good smartwatch comes by...I hope.

18. mossman

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 03, 2014

I've had three wearables, a fitbit, a basis watch, and now the Galaxy Gear. I liked each one, but the first two I owned for less than 6 months, and that will probably be true for the Gear as well. I needed the fitbit to help me lose 25 pounds, but once I reached my goal, I didn't need it anymore. The Basis watch helped me to think about my health differently and change a few things in my life, but once that was done, there really wasn't anything it could offer me. Of the three devices, the Gear has the most staying power, but almost surely I will be dropping mine for the latest model or Google Wear. As I reflect on this, isn't this the ideal situation for wearable makers? That is, providing functionality that people want and can use, but also having a relatively quick device turnover rate?

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