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UK Wearable Technology market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Wearable Technology market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • The term ‘wearable technology’ (also referred to as ‘wearable devices’ or ‘wearables’) in this Report refers to a category of technology devices that can be worn on the body, either as an accessory or as items of clothing.
  • Generally, wearable technology products can perform some of the same computing tasks as smartphones and have the ability to connect to the internet, which enables data exchange. In addition, they can provide sensory and scanning features such as biometrics and tracking of physiological functions and allow for real-time access to this information.
  • The terms ‘fitness bands’ and ‘fitness trackers’ are used interchangeably, and refer to wrist-worn devices without smart functionality (this is defined as the ability to download third party apps or interact with information from a smartphone).
  • Mintel market size estimates only cover fitness bands and smartwatches.

What you need to know

Ownership of smartwatches has remained static recently but the market is set for further growth, with strong intent to buy and a range of new releases from major brands. Apple launched its Series 4 Apple Watch in September 2018 with the focus firmly on health and fitness. The flagship device included an ECG (Electrocardiogram) to help monitor heart health and provide vital notifications. However, the use of the technology has as yet only been approved in the US and not the UK.

Besides a slightly larger watch face and smaller bezel, the rest of the upgrades to the device are fairly incremental. Samsung also released a new smartwatch in September 2018, bringing its latest device under the Galaxy brand instead of a linear successor to the Gear Watch 3. With Garmin and Fitbit also launching new smartwatches in 2018, the lines between fitness trackers and smartwatches are increasingly blurred.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Adrian Reynolds, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Smartwatch sales are beginning to overtake those of fitness bands and sports watches as lines between the devices blur. Consumers are seeing real health benefits in the data collection and analysis such devices can provide, with many motivated to exercise more. While wearable technology brands continue to innovative across the jewellery, clothing and headphone markets, smartwatches will remain the primary focus, driven by annual launches from the major smartphone manufacturers Adrian Reynolds
Technology Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The Market
            • VR market at crossroads as sales decrease
              • Ready Player One movie showcases VR
                • Increasing importance of standalone headsets
                  • Launch Activity and Innovation
                    • Quest headset to launch in 2019
                      • HTC announces Vive Pro, Vive Focus for UK and wireless adapter
                        • Lenovo unveils Mirage Solo headset with Google Daydream
                          • HaptX releases developer kit for haptic VR
                            • Zero Latency opens first VR studio in UK
                              • The Consumer
                                • Almost 40% of headset owners rarely use it
                                  • Figure 1: VR usage frequency for headset owners, September 2018
                                • Just 21% of non-owners have tried VR
                                  • Almost three quarters of consumers don’t intend to buy
                                    • Figure 2: Intention to buy a headset, September 2018
                                  • PlayStation VR leads competition for new potential customers
                                    • Figure 3: Intention to buy across brands, September 2018
                                  • Lack of awareness from consumers about VR
                                    • Figure 4: Reason to not purchase a VR headset, September 2018
                                  • World Cup VR figures suggest work to be done to persuade fans
                                    • Figure 5: Watching World Cup in VR, September 2018
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                    • The challenge of creating engagement when access to headsets is limited
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Consumers held back by price and lack of awareness
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Films appeal to most consumers but sport divides opinion
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • VR market at crossroads as sales decrease
                                                        • Ready Player One movie showcases VR
                                                          • PlayStation sells 3 million VR headsets
                                                            • Increasing importance of standalone headsets
                                                              • Price discounts continue for holiday seasons
                                                              • Market Size

                                                                • VR market at a crossroads as sales stall
                                                                  • Figure 6: VR market size, 2016-18
                                                                  • Figure 7: VR market, 2016-18
                                                                • Mid-market focus could be key to growth
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Ready Player One movie showcases VR
                                                                    • Consumers could look for better VR experiences after Google Cardboard success
                                                                      • PlayStation sells 3 million VR headsets
                                                                        • Figure 8: PlayStation VR headset
                                                                      • Increasing importance of standalone headsets
                                                                        • Price discounts continue for holiday seasons
                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                          • Quest headset to launch in 2019
                                                                            • HTC announces Vive Pro, Vive Focus for UK and wireless adapter
                                                                              • Lenovo unveils Mirage Solo headset with Google Daydream
                                                                                • HaptX releases developer kit for haptic VR
                                                                                  • Zero Latency opens first VR studio in UK
                                                                                    • Vive Studios and DVgroup demonstrate role of VR in film
                                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                      • Quest headset to launch in 2019
                                                                                        • Figure 9: Oculus quest headset
                                                                                      • Oculus agrees a range of new partnerships
                                                                                        • Figure 10: VR experience in Oculus Go for CHLA surgeons
                                                                                      • HTC announces Vive Pro and Vive Focus for UK market
                                                                                        • Adapter brings wireless functionality to Vive headsets
                                                                                          • Lenovo unveils Mirage Solo headset with Google Daydream
                                                                                            • Figure 11: Lenovo Mirage Solo headset
                                                                                          • HaptX releases developer kit for haptic VR
                                                                                            • Figure 12: HaptX gloves
                                                                                          • Zero Latency opens first VR studio in UK
                                                                                            • Figure 13: Zero Latency equipment
                                                                                          • Vive Studios and DVgroup demonstrate role of VR in film
                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • VR ownership still well behind more established technology items
                                                                                              • Just 21% of non-owners have tried VR
                                                                                                • Prices hold back new buyers
                                                                                                  • Lack of awareness from consumers about VR
                                                                                                    • PlayStation VR leads competition for new potential customers
                                                                                                      • Millennials more engaged in all aspects of VR content – especially gaming
                                                                                                        • World Cup VR figures suggest work to be done to persuade fans
                                                                                                        • VR Headset Ownership and Usage

                                                                                                          • VR ownership still well behind more established technology items
                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Technology items in household, September 2018
                                                                                                          • Just 21% of non-owners have used VR
                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Last time for VR usage, September 2018
                                                                                                          • Over a third use VR more than once a week
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: VR usage frequency, September 2018
                                                                                                        • Intent to Buy

                                                                                                          • Almost three quarters of consumers don’t intend to buy
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Intent to buy a VR headset, September 2018
                                                                                                          • Millennials well ahead in intent to buy a headset
                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Intent to buy a headset, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                                          • PlayStation VR leads competition for new potential customers
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Consumer intent across VR brands, September 2018
                                                                                                        • Incentives and Barriers to VR Purchasing

                                                                                                          • Price holds back new buyers
                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Motivators to buy a VR headset, September 2018
                                                                                                            • Lack of consumer awareness about VR
                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Knowledge of VR headsets, September 2018
                                                                                                            • Interest in VR Content

                                                                                                              • VR activities receive mixed response from consumers
                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Interest in VR activities, September 2018
                                                                                                              • Millennials more engaged in all aspects of VR content – especially gaming
                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Interest in gaming for VR, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                                              • VR educational use as appealing as gaming for Millennials
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Interest in educational use for VR, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                                              • Watching films of interest to most consumers, while holiday destination experiences show the broadest appeal
                                                                                                                • Social media lowest on consumer priority list
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Interest in using social media with VR, by gender, September 2018
                                                                                                                • Watching sport also divides opinion
                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Interest in watching sport with VR, by gender and generation, September 2018
                                                                                                                  • Parents with children aged 18 and under interested in VR property search
                                                                                                                    • Close split between men and women over VR shopping
                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Interest in shopping with VR, by gender and socio-economic group, September 2018
                                                                                                                    • Cultural experiences and concerts appeal to large audiences
                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Interest in cultural experiences with VR, by socio-economic group, September 2018
                                                                                                                  • Other Issues with VR

                                                                                                                    • Over half of consumers cautious over prolonged VR use
                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Opinions on extended VR use, September 2018
                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Whether VR is disorientating after long use, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                                                    • Older Millennials find VR set-up harder than Generation X
                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: VR set-up, September 2018
                                                                                                                  • VR for the World Cup

                                                                                                                    • World Cup VR figures suggest work needs to be done to persuade fans
                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: VR usage for World Cup, September 2018
                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Interest in VR for World Cup, by gender and generation, September 2018
                                                                                                                  • Interest in VR Venues and Arcades

                                                                                                                    • Majority of young Millennials interested in VR-dedicated venues
                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Interest in free-roaming VR venues, by gender, generation and presence of children, September 2018
                                                                                                                    • VR arcades appeal to less than a third of consumers
                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Interest in VR arcades, by gender and generation, September 2018
                                                                                                                  • CHAID Analysis – Opinions on VR Venues

                                                                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                                                                      • Men with experience of VR most interested in free-roaming
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Target group for free-roaming venues – CHAID – Tree output, September 2018
                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Target group for free-roaming venues – CHAID – Table output, September 2018
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology