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People primarily use wearable devices for “legacy tasks,” such as tracking fitness and checking the time, rather than connecting them to other devices as part of an “internet of things” ecosystem of connected devices.

Apple is the most popular brand of wearable devices, according to new research from Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews firm. Apple Watch (41%) is the wearable device that the most people own, ahead of FitBit (35%) and Samsung (21%) devices.

People who own wearables primarily own smartwatches (61%), which explains the popularity of the Apple Watch relative to other fitness trackers (27%).

Apple has a variety of advantages over competitors in the wearables space, according to Pavlo Bashmakov, director of augmented reality and mixed reality lab for Intellectsoft, a software solutions provider based in Palo Alto, Calif.

These advantages include:

  1. Expansive platform for developers
  2. Application market that is familiar to customers
  3. Existing Apple customers
  4. Reputation as a luxury brand

People Use Wearables to Track Fitness, Check Time

People use their wearable devices to track fitness (70%) and check the time (61%). Over half (52%) use them to communicate.

People buy wearables specifically to accomplish these low-complexity tasks, according to Rob Pope, chief technology officer and co-founder of Dogtown Media, a mobile app development company based in Venice Beach, Calif.

This explains why wearable devices (35%) are the second-most commonly owned IoT devices, behind smart home appliances (67%). People may purchase a smart home appliance without realizing it is a connected device.

3 Barriers Prevent Users From Completing Complex Tasks On Wearable Devices

Wearables owners do not use their devices to accomplish advanced tasks such as controlling home appliances or managing finances. This is a result of three main factors:

  1. Screen size: Small screens limit the functionality of wearable devices since complex tasks require people to scroll through multiple screens.
  2. Ease of Use: Tasks such as money or data transfers are easier to accomplish manually or using a desktop or mobile interface.
  3. Privacy: Data sharing concerns prevent people from accessing personal or sensitive information on their wearable devices. Half of wearables owners (50%) believe that their personal data is shared across multiple connected devices.

People Tend Not to Connect Their Wearables to Other IoT Devices

Some complex tasks require people to download the same applications on their wearable as on another IoT device. For example, to control a smart refrigerator using a wearable device, it’s necessary to download the application on a wearable or smartphone.

Only 6% of people who own wearable devices connect them to the same applications as other IoT devices. This indicates people have little interest in using wearable devices as part of the internet of things (IoT) – a system of devices that people can control remotely when connected to the internet.

Instead, wearable owners connect their devices to their smartphones. Over 90% access the same applications on their smartphones as their wearable device.

Access Clutch’s complete findings here: