A new white paper from Endeavour Partners says that although 1 in 10 Americans owns a fitness tracker, something like 50 percent of them wind up in a drawer somewhere within six months:
In the midst of this frenzy of anticipation, the dirty secret of wearables remains: most of these devices fail to drive long-term sustained engagement for a majority of users.
This is a problem. It’s one thing if there hadn’t been a lot of devices sold, but it’s far worse if a large segment of the population has already tried a product category and given up on it. Finding repeat satisfied customers is relatively easy; finding new customer is hard; winning back dissatisfied customers is probably hardest of all.
Many of the products on the market don’t do very much, or require a serious commitment of time and energy to use. It’s hard to change people’s habits without some kind of big and evident payoff; witness the huge failure rate of New Year’s resolutions. What wearables developers need to do is figure out what will make people stick with it.
The good news may be that hope springs eternal. People who fail to lose the weight they promise they will often make the same resolution again. Gadget-oriented self-improvers might be persuaded into having short memories and a willingness to give wearables another shot.