IDC Survey Finds Nearly Half of Wearables Owners in the United States Are Willing to Switch Brands

IDC Survey Finds Nearly Half of Wearables Owners in the United States Are Willing to Switch Brands

NEEDHAM, Mass., October 4, 2022 – Despite strong consumer loyalty within the United States wearables market, a recent IDC survey shows the likelihood of switching brands in the future. Among the smartwatch and fitness tracker owners surveyed, 42.2% said that they were likely to switch brands while that number ballooned to 53.5% among current owners of smart earwear. These results come at a time when the United States wearables market is taking slow steps toward maturity and slower growth, yet the data shows that consumers are willing to consider other brands to meet their needs.

"The willingness to switch brands poses both an opportunity and a challenge for wearables companies," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for Wearables at IDC. "With fewer new users available, companies are more than happy to lure customers away from their current brands onto their own. But at the same time, companies are vigilant about keeping their own customers. This puts the pressure on companies to provide best-in-class devices and experiences at appealing price points that both attain and retain customers."

Within this same survey, IDC polled consumers on what it would take for consumers to switch brands of their wearable device. These are the top three responses:

"Battery life has long been a challenge for wearables," Llamas continued. "Having to charge devices – whether smartwatches, fitness trackers, or smart earwear – every day or every other day is not ideal, however it is the standard that consumers have come to accept. Faster charging is certainly helpful in this regard but getting multiple days on a single charge would not only be ideal, but it would also be a reason to switch brands."

Beyond battery life, the leading reasons for switching diverge. For wristwear, lower cost follows closely behind, but the desire to integrate with other devices shows how users see their devices as part of an ecosystem of hardware and software to deliver seamless experiences. For earwear, getting the right comfort and fit – long touted as the primary drivers to choosing a set of new earwear alongside sound quality – would appeal to consumers. "This is where companies can start to focus their efforts to stand out in an increasingly crowded and competitive market," added Llamas.

The IDC presentation, U.S. Smartwatch and Fitness Tracker Ownership, 2022 (IDC #US49532522), looks at smartwatch and fitness tracker ownership in the United States. IDC polled 1,411 current smartwatch and fitness tracker owners on what brand of device they own, whether it was the same brand as their smartphone, and how important it was for them to have those brands match, how likely they were to change brands, and what it would take for them to switch.

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

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