Wearable Tech Divide: Fitness Trackers

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As the field of wearable technology advances rapidly, Americans are trying to come to terms with the role of these devices in their personal lives. A recent MindSwarms study suggests that consumers are firmly divided into two camps: enthusiasts and rejectors.

MindSwarms Senior Project Manager, Ryan Brill, notes that "Although both groups demonstrate interest in staying connected with their bodies (particularly in regard to fitness), we found that opinions differ dramatically on the specific role that wearables should play."

Developers will need to consider how to design wearable technology to be aligned to the values of a wider spectrum of consumers.

Five Implications:
Wearable fans and rejectors share the common goal of wanting to be more connected to their bodies and the moment, yet have polar opposite opinions about the role of computing in that journey.
The wearables audience segmentation appears binary at the moment: people are clearly in one camp or the other, with no shades of grey in between.
Wearables have the ability to be welcomed into consumers’ personal space. And, surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be any fear about the misuse or abuse of that information amongst fans.
The fact that wearables are beginning to be described in very human terms may mean people are emotionally ready to accept computers as a genuine relationship partner versus just a pure tech tool.
There may be tension building between those who embrace wearables as an extension of the themselves, and those who continue to see wearables as an enemy of human instinct.

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Wearable Tech Divide: Fitness Trackers

  1. 1. The wearable tech divide: the fans and the rejectors A top line report on wearable fitness technology. ! Q2 2014
  2. 2. Americans are united in their desire to connect with their bodies more, but are deeply divided about the role of wearable computing in that quest. ! Objective: Capture the relationship people have with their wearable fitness devices—including both fans and rejectors of this technology— and compare their attitudes. Research Objective
  3. 3. • National US sample • 13 states • 23 cities • Ages 18 - 66 • Even male/female ratio • Mix of ethnicities and socio- economic backgrounds Target Audience
  4. 4. One camp looks to wearables like FitBit or FuelBand as means to motivate themselves, to track their progress, and to heighten their awareness of the present moment.
  5. 5. “What I really like about my FitBit is that it makes me more aware of what I'm doing during the day, and it keeps me motivated to maybe take the steps over the escalator, or walk instead of take the subway…It makes me think about things a little bit more.” -Elizabeth, 26, Massachusetts Wearables motivate, track, and heighten awareness of the present moment. For fans-
  6. 6. (Uses Packed app & Moves app) “I never noticed how much I’d walk a day and it was good to see that and to keep aware of, oh -maybe I should walk more. The Packed app helps me to stay focused on my fitness goals.” -Caroline, 23, New Jersey Wearables motivate, track, and heighten awareness of the present moment. For fans-
  7. 7. (Uses FitBit) “The more you know, the better you can be about changing things.” -Trey J. Wearables motivate, track, and heighten awareness of the present moment. For fans-
  8. 8. The other camp sees wearables as an unproven distraction, putting a barrier between them and their bodies, and limiting their quest to be more in-tune with themselves.
  9. 9. “I'm not sure if it has real benefits for me. When I am being physically active or exercising (whether I'm by myself or with friends), I want to feel fully present. I want to feel fully engaged, and I want to feel connected to my body… I think if I was wearing a gadget, I would be distracted.” -Phoenix, 50, California Wearables are an unproven distraction that limit self-awareness. For rejectors-
  10. 10. “One of my biggest criticisms is that it has the potential to undermine your own innate sense of your body and what you need, being able to use your own internal trackers.” -Alice, 27, San Francisco Wearables are an unproven distraction that limit self-awareness. For rejectors-
  11. 11. “I like working out, and to have something that feels like unplugging, off of screen, no gadgets, relaxing, pure nature… I like to keep it low-tech and away from the computers and gadgets that I spend so much of my life on.” -Margaret W. Wearables are an unproven distraction that limit self-awareness. For rejectors-
  12. 12. Fans see wearables as a companion in their journey - they refer to them in human terms.
  13. 13. “I'm a big girl, but I chose to work- out to be there for my daughter… It's changed my life, because it's given me numbers plus results… It's a great assistant.” -Kimberly P. Wearables function as workout companions. For fans-
  14. 14. “I like my FuelBand because I feel like I get a more accurate idea of my strength when I work-out. I feel like I get a better workout… I push myself knowing that I’m actually being recorded… It’s kind of like having brother watching you.” -Lisa S. Wearables function as workout companions. For fans-
  15. 15. “It helps me make my workouts efficient, more enjoyable, and more consistent. It also helps me to track my progress. It definitely encourages me and teaches me what moves to do. -Peggy, 29, La Palma Wearables function as workout companions. For fans-
  16. 16. “[My] Nike+ SportWatch GPS is an indispensable tool for keeping all my running goals and activity charted and logged. What's great is that it gives me feedback on my running, congratulates me, provides me with words of encouragement…” -Shawn H. Wearables function as workout companions. For fans-
  17. 17. Conclusions & Implications While based on our study of consumer relationships with fitness-tracking wearables, the conclusions below may be extrapolated to the expanding range of wearable technology. ! Wearable fans and rejectors share the common goal of wanting to be more connected to their bodies and the moment, yet have polar opposite opinions about the role of computing in that journey. The wearables audience segmentation appears binary at the moment: people are clearly in one camp or the other, with no shades of grey in between.
  18. 18. Conclusions & Implications Wearables have the ability to be welcomed into consumers’ personal space. And, surprisingly, in an era of fear of Big Brother, there doesn’t appear to be any fear about the misuse or abuse of that information amongst fans. The fact that wearables are beginning to be described in very human terms may mean people are emotionally ready to accept computers as a genuine relationship partner versus just a pure tech tool. There may be tension building between those who embrace wearables as an extension of the themselves, and those who continue to see wearables as an enemy of human instinct. !
  19. 19. Click here to watch the video.
  20. 20. About MindSwarms MindSwarms gathers video feedback from consumers via smartphone/tablet (and webcam) all over the world. Fast. Consumers are screened first, then qualified respondents are invited to record their responses (asynchronously). Consumers are paid for participating. Responses to the study questions are viewable and shareable online, and can be downloaded in Quicktime format for inclusion in presentations or to create curated videos. Learn more at MindSwarms.com or blog.mindswarms.com.
  21. 21. Thank You
  22. 22. Photo Attribution ! Page 1 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Track by Peter Aversten Page 2 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Road Bike Panning by Marek Kubica Page 3 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Runner by Aarni Heiskanen Page 4 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Endomodo Fitness App on iPhone 5 by HealthGauge Page 8 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Data by r2hox Page 12 CC-licensed Flickr Photo: Treadmill Runner by HealthGauge ! ! !

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