U.S. consumers aren't exactly flocking to them, as just 9% of Americans say they are "eager" to use wearable technology, according to data from TNS, a New York City-based market information firm.
That's not to say consumers won't eventually embrace wearables. A study by Juniper Research estimates that the wearable device market will grow from 15 million in unit sales worldwide this year to 70 million in 2017.
Even the TNS study says that 75% of U.S. consumers are "aware" of wearable technologies, although less than 10% of Americans want to use them. That suggests a brand-new industry just getting traction, but not revenues."Wearable computing is still in its infancy," says Tom Buehrer, a senior vice president at TNS. "The main challenge lies in convincing people of its value and developing a device with mass appeal. The future of computing will be wearable. The question is, which kind of computers will people actually wear?" Right now, Buehrer says that the primary problem with wearables is more of a "feel" issue than a "style" issue. Nobody wants to wear something that's uncomfortable, he says, and right now, the part of the body where consumers feel most comfortable about wearing smart gadgets is on the wrist. TNS says 52% of consumers surveyed would consider wearing a smart device on their wrist (like a high-end smart watch or bracelet,) followed by 24% who say they would don a wearable smart device on their arm. That's good news for Samsung and maybe for Apple (AAPL) and its long-rumored iWatch. Bad news for Google, as only 5% of U.S. consumers say they would wear a smart device around or on their eyes.