As the world sees rapid development within the wearable technology category, more and more devices are entering the market. Recent research from Mintel reveals that over two in five (43%) urban Chinese consumers would buy wearable devices for themselves, rising to almost half (48%) of consumers aged 20-24. However, today just 32% of consumers agree that it is fashionable to use wearable devices, declining to 27% of those aged 20-24.

Today, around half (52%) of urban Chinese consumers own a smart wristband and 42% owning a smartwatch. What’s more, over two in three (69%) smartwatch owners have also purchased smart wristbands.

Sales volume of smart wristbands in China is estimated to have grown by 109% from 2015 to 2016

Mintel research shows that smart wristbands currently take up a greater share in volume as well as value sales. From 2015 to 2016, sales volume of smart wristbands in China is estimated to have grown by 109%, while sales of smartwatches are estimated to have dropped by 37%. Overall, the total volume sales of smart wristbands and smartwatches is estimated to have grown by 66.8% in 2016.

Terra Xu, Senior Technology Analyst at Mintel said,

“There’s no doubt that young people are now increasingly accepting of the idea of wearable technology, but the wearables market is facing a challenge to sustain growth. This is due to the lack of breakthrough products and the wide ownership of smartphones that are already equipped with similar functions to wearable devices. This is especially the case for smart wristbands and smartwatches, as a result the need for innovation and low entry prices are now becoming key.”

By considering the functions of wearable devices, Mintel research indicates that 53% of survey respondents consider comprehensive health monitoring functions attractive, while 50% are interested in monitoring features that will allow them to track family members.

In addition, urban Chinese male consumers (45%) are more interested in connecting wearables to other devices, the likes of smartphones and cameras, compared to urban Chinese female consumers (39%). Urban Chinese consumers aged 20-24 (46%) are most attracted to wearable devices that can receive location-based information, while those aged 40-49 (45%) are more interested in satellite navigation.

Xu added, “Health monitoring is a feature that largely appeals to consumers looking to own smart wristbands and smartwatches, while family-related features show potential to attract more consumer purchases.”

Furthermore, Mintel research shows that consumers are now getting to know virtual reality (VR) through different channels as a new form of advanced technology, showing high interest in its various applications. Mintel research reveals that 97% of urban Chinese consumers are very interested or somewhat interested in at least one type of VR application, with films the most appealing (45%) for both male and female consumers. While male consumers are more interested in playing VR games (39%) and virtual test rides (31%), female consumers are interested in VR applications that facilitate online shopping, for instance viewing and buying goods in virtual shops (35%) and children’s entertainment, for example interactive videos or games (25%).

“Consumers are interested in virtual and augmented reality technology. VR and AR applications have been spotted in various sectors, and companies and brands are only just starting to explore the alternative reality field. While male and female consumers have different interest points, VR and AR technology can still be an effective tool to draw consumer attention,” Xu concluded.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Wearable Technology – China 2016 report and interviews with Senior Research Analyst, Terra Xu, are available on request from the press office.

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