Users Are Bored with Wearables Due to Lack of Accuracy

Design flaws like lack of accurate information are causing early adopters of wearables to abandon the technology.

4 Min Read
Users Are Bored with Wearables Due to Lack of Accuracy

Not long after they’ve begun to hit the market wearables are already ending up discarded in the drawers of user homes thanks to some design flaws like lack of accuracy that are leaving customers cold, according to a recent survey conducted by performance biometric data sensor technology provider Valencell and the MEMS & Sensor Industry Group.

The survey found 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 felt they could trust the information it provides. So far, however, while 80% of wearable owners feel that their wearable has a positive impact on their health, lack of continually interesting insights is -- along with battery issues -- among the top reasons for discontinued use, according to the survey.

“Valencell's recent market study shows that poor battery life, insufficient sensor accuracy, and a lack of compelling user experiences cause consumers to drop their wearables,” Steven LeBoeuf, Valencell’s co-founder and president, told Design News. “And of those who do not currently own wearables, they say they would likely purchase them if they provided accurate health information.”

This infographic shows key results of a recent survey on early adoption of wearable technology conducted by Valencell and MEMS % Sensor Industry Group.
(Source: Valencell)

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

More than 42% of those surveyed said they have or have owned a wearable device, with 63% ranking accuracy as a “highly important” feature of the device. Most of those with wearables are using them for some health-oriented applications, and 80% said they think their wearable is doing their health some good.

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Of those who own a wearable, 52% own a wristband, 36% earbuds, and 32% a smartwatch, according to the survey. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they purchased the wearable to track overall activity, while 28% purchased it to manage weight.

Of those surveyed who don’t own wearables, 31% said it’s because the devices are too expensive, while 28% said they’re not sure of the benefit of wearables. However, 58% of those surveyed said they would consider buying a wearable if they trusted the accuracy.

Indeed, this and more seem to be what people want from their wearables, and it’s more than they are currently getting, LeBoeuf said. “[They want] more health-oriented metrics, better battery life, and compelling insights from sensor data,” he told us.


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

Customers eventually will get what they want from wearable devices, but they may have to wait awhile, LeBoeuf said. “New models connecting the dots from sensor data to actionable health insights will take time to scientifically prove and time to legally approve,” he said.

In the meantime, the next generation of wearable technology will feature other improvements, including better human-computer interfaces that makes it easier to interact with computers and other mobile devices, LeBoeuf said. “Also, wearables will be configured to provide personalized, actionable insight towards better health,” he added.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.

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