Consumers' perceived attitudes to wearable devices in health monitoring in China: a survey study
Date Submitted: Apr 29, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: May 2, 2016 - May 7, 2016
Background: Capital market and consumer market interest in wearable devices has surged in recent years, and wearable products swamp the market, however their actual acceptance in the field of health monitoring has not reached such expectation. Objective: This study aims to understand the perceptions of wearable devices of general consumers, analyze the review of the devices by users, and find existing problems associated with current wearable devices. Methods: Sojump.com, an on-line questionnaire tool, was used to generate the questionnaire, which focused on four aspects, i.e., the basic information of the respondents, the general perceptions of wearable devices, the tendencies of expected functions and potential problems. The snowball sampling method was employed to collect questionnaires by making use of the author’s social network. Results: (1) A total of 2058 valid questionnaires were received from the respondents from every province in China; of the respondents, 52.4% have used a wearable device. (2) The respondents had a low level of knowledge about wearable devices (2.79/5) but were optimistic with regard to the devices’ future (3.86/5), anticipating that it takes four years for the devices to become fashionable, and 84% recognized an acceptable price of less than 2000 RMB. Nearly half of the respondents were unwilling to continuously wear the device (47.1%) and share their health data (44.7%). (3) The respondents placed more emphasis on the health management functions than on the mobile phone auxiliary functions. Regarding the health monitoring functions, the respondents were most interested in heart health monitoring. The functions of wearable devices that the respondents expected were mainly health management (63.5%), mobile phone accessories (61.9%), and location tracking (61.2%), and the promising hot future functions were mainly data monitoring and analysis (74.2%), exercise coaching (60.5%), and child tracking (58.8%). (4) The respondents had different levels of emphasis regarding the existing problems of wearable devices at different use stages. Being easily damaged or lost (49.7%), being incapable of providing credible, valuable, and easily executable health recommendations based on an analysis of the monitoring data (46.7%), and being uncomfortable to wear (45.8%) likely lead consumers to abandon the use of wearable devices. Conclusions: Consumers are optimistic about the prospects of wearable devices; however, there is a large gap between the accuracy and reliability of the measurement data, the ease of use of the product design, and the interpretation of the measurement data of current wearable products and consumer expectations. Consumer demand for health management functions, especially heart health monitoring functions, is higher than that for daily auxiliary-type functions, which is an issue that should be properly addressed and resolved by manufacturers.