There are still some folks around who remember outhouses and manual typewriters. But fewer and fewer, to be honest.
Now we’re in the zoom era of technological innovation. In the last decade, the reach of digital media has been staggering. First it was smartphones that revamped our lives. Next up? Wearables.
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, about 130 million wearable devices will be sold by 2018.
Connected gadgets could change our lives, our health, our habits.
The research firm’s 50-page compendium, “The Wearable Future Report,” posits that wearables will be “the next big thing,” with the wearables industry on the whole forecast to gross nearly $6 billion within four years. It’s a competitive opportunity that will keep tech firms working on wearables at the drawing boards.
“Businesses must evolve their existing mobile-first strategy to now include the wearable revolution and deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner,” says Deborah Bothun, PwC’s U.S. entertainment, media, and communications leader.
PwC analysts believe there are six industries poised to take advantage of this trend, according to a recap posted at Fortune.
1. Entertainment – Companies in this broad category are likely in the best position to benefit from the burgeoning wearables movement, PwC reports. “Basically, where there’s a screen, there’s an opportunity,” the report posits. The most likely early adopters? Millennials, according to PwC.
2. Social media – PwC found that consumers want even more on-the-go access to their favorite social networks via wearables. That really defines “always-on Millennials,” who were three times as likely as the general population, PwC says, to name real-time social-media updates as a key benefit of wearables.
3. Gaming – Did you know that 97 percent of American children (ages 12 to 17) play an average of at least one hour of video games per day? That means there are inevitably games that wearables could render more visually and physically engaging. Of the consumers PwC polled, 64 percent admitted they would be “motivated by” wearable-integrated gaming.
4. Advertising – More wearable screens equal more places for marketers to — you betcha — market. Wearables are portable, connected “blank canvases for highly targeted message placements, especially in the form of content with greater relevancy and context to the user.” If a consumer can wear it and stare at it, the advertisers will come.
5. Healthcare – One of the fast-growing crop of wearables relates to healthcare. Health-conscious people monitor everything from calories consumed to steps taken to sleep schedules. Forward-thinking companies in the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare industry are already exploring ways to drive engagement and enhance revenue from the data all those wearables can capture.
6. Retail – Wearables could come to define everyday retail experiences. True, privacy and data breach threats — the bane of all things digital these days — will have to be addressed. But that’s do-able. The PwC research indicated that Millennials have the most interest in wearable-enhanced retail engagement. That extends from pre-store and in-store product and “deal research and comparison” all the way to the checkout.
The PwC report and research confirm what many startup companies and analysts already know: the wearables market is a powder keg of possibilities just waiting to explode.