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High interest in wearable devices in China

While 43 per cent of urban Chinese consumers would buy wearable devices for themselves, the figure rises to 48 per cent for the 20- to 24-years age bracket, says London-based research firm Mintel.

Yet 32 per cent of the consumers it surveyed agree it is fashionable to use wearable devices in China, dropping to 27 per cent of those 20 to 24. Today, 52 per cent of urban Chinese consumers have a smart wristband and 42 per cent own a smartwatch. Furthermore, 69 per cent of smartwatch owners have also bought smart wristbands.

Mintel’s research shows that smart wristbands are growing in popularity in China. Sales of the wristbands over the past two years are estimated to have grown by 109 per cent, while smartwatch sales dropped by 37 per cent. Overall, the total volume sales of smart wristbands and smartwatches is estimated to have grown by 66.8 per cent last year.

“The wearable devices market is facing a challenge to sustain growth,” says Mintel senior technology analyst Terra Xu. “This is because of the lack of breakthrough products and the wide ownership of smartphones.”

Pricing key

As a result, innovation and low entry prices are becoming key to wearable devices in China, he says.
Of Mintel’s survey respondents, 53 per cent say they find health-monitoring ability attractive, while half of them are interested in being able to track family members.

Also, 45 per cent of urban males are more interested in connecting wearables to other devices such as smartphones and cameras, compared to 39 per cent of females. Of consumers between 20 and 24 years, 46 per cent are most attracted by wearables that can receive location-based information, while 45 per cent of those aged 40-49 years are more interested in satellite navigation.

Mintel says high interest is being shown in virtual-reality (VR) applications. Its research shows that 97 per cent of urban Chinese consumers are “very” or “somewhat” interested in at least one type of VR application, with movies being the prime choice for 45 per cent of both genders.

While males are more interested in playing VR games (39 per cent) and virtual test rides (31 per cent), females are attracted by VR applications that help with online shopping, such as viewing and buying goods in virtual shops (35 per cent) and children’s entertainment such as interactive videos or games (25 per cent).

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