Wearables – The Next Big Trend in Mobile Payments?

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This guest column is by‎ Audrey Zack, Marketing Associate, MobiCommerce

Wearable devices, fashionable technology or the fashion electronics are usually accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technology with practical function and features. They are the good examples of IoT (internet of things) as they are part of network of physical things that are embedded with sensors, software’s, electronics and have connectivity operations such as exchange of data with various sources such as connected devices, operators, manufacturers etc without any human intervention.

History of Wearable Devices

The wearables have made technology pervasive by interweaving it into the day to day life. The history of the development of these wearable devices has shown successful attempts to enhance and extend the functionality or creation of wearables as accessories to provide consume with sousveillence (The recording of activities with portable personal technologies). One of the earliest wearable technologies introduced in the 1980s was the calculator watch. In 2004 the brand Cute Circuit introduced a dress that was blue tooth connected called Hug Shirt at the Cyber Art Festival in Spain where it won a grand prize. In 2008 a hidden blue tooth was incorporated into a pair of earrings by llya Fridman, somewhere around the same time a stylish neck tie with a hidden color came and was introduced as the spy tie. Other wearable that caught the attention were the “pocket tweet ‘’ when a hole was cut in the shirt or jacket and with the help of mobile screen it was possible to display a twitter text bubble. In 2009 head phones were stitched into beanies and headphones.

The Booming Market of Wearable Devices

The first quarter of the year 2016 marked a huge expansion worldwide in the market of wearable devices. As per the prediction, this industry will hit $14 billion with 123 million wearable devices shipped this year.

According to CCS insight, by 2020 there will be about 411 million wearables owned by the consumers and the wearable industries will be about $34 Billion.

CCS Insight wearables forecast

IDC data mentioning worldwide shipment forecast of the wearable devices, predicts by the end of 2016, these devices are expected to ship 101.9 million units. It will be around 213.6 Million Units in 2020.

IDC wearables forcast

The Use of Wearable Devices in Various Fields

Healthcare sector: The healthcare sector has been benefitted with the introduction of these wearable devices .It has eased the monitoring procedures involved in medical investigation of patients. Devices with censors to measure various parameters of the human body have helped the health sector to provide accurate and quality services to patients.

Security services: Devices like smart glasses when combined with police databases and facial recognition software can improve security services. The facial recognition camera technology installed at security gates of airports and other public places can be integrated with smart devices of the police security forces for better security arrangements and services.

Personal training: The wearables can be used for personal training programs by setting data and trackers of the desired fitness training programs.

Other uses: The users of these devices go hands free and this high tech mobility and tracking features can be useful in many ways for emergency personals rescue teams, mobile ware house workers, officials who want instant access to data can also be benefitted.

The maximum number of wearables are in the health and fitness activity. ‘The Wearables Database‘ report by Deloitte and Vandrico Inc. mentions that currently there are about 438 devices in the global market that fall across a range of categories. The lifestyle category represents the maximum wearables about 58%. The average cost of such devices is approximately $291.


Wearables and Mobile Commerce

According to the research firm Gartner Inc., the wearable technology will be playing an important role in the field of mobile payments in the coming years and almost 50% of the consumers globally will be using smart phones by the end of 2018.

The same release counts three kinds of mobile payments – wearables or smart phones based payments; branded mobile wallets from retailers and mobile wallets from credit card issues or banks. The mobile payments services that are based on the NFC technology like Apple pay, Android pay, and Samsung pay are going to remain limited as the partnership between the retailers and financial organisations will not yet have been established by then.

The concept of mobile payment is not new but most of the chatter has focused on purchasing items through the usage of mobile phones. As per eMarketer, more than two thirds of U.S smartphone users preferred to use wearable devices over mobile phones in order to make payments, on the other hand the mobile payments could also increase the pace of wearable devices as many agreed to have a wearable device if it could make in store payments. The owners and potential users of the wearable devices showed more interest in tracking fitness and health than any other function.


Will the Wearable Devices Push Back Smart Phones for Mobile Payments?

The mobile wallets are still gaining adoption, and consumers are looking forward to wearable devices in order to make more secure and effective payments. Several wearable devices are surfacing a possible mechanism for the mobile payments. However there are many challenges in the market that has to be dealt seriously before the market will be totally upended.

The progress of science and advancement in technology has brought a revolution in the world of electronics. Every now and then a new product is introduced with multiple features to compete with the existing ones. The introduction of wearable devices, one of the latest innovations, is conquering the world of electronics. Smart watches, glasses, rings, garments etc are attracting the consumers day by day. These gadgets have also influenced the e-commerce and m-commerce in significant ways. The marketers are set to increase the mobile commerce where on the other hand the use of wearables is also increasing, but when it is about payment functions, it turns the tide. No doubt wearables are the next big trend.

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  2. 2

    Nice article to read. I totally agree that wearables will be the next big trend in mobile payments. At this point, Smartphones are far ahead than wearables in mobile payments but It will take time as users of wearables will increase with time.

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    Great article. Technology is transforming healthcare industry like never before. Wearable patches now can monitor many things like glucose levels and delivers insulin. It can also monitors patients with heart disease.

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