Consumers Need a Good Reason to Buy 'Smart' Wearable Devices

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Consumers are going to love wearable technology such as Apple's (AAPL) iWatch in the short term, but the technology is going to have to prove its worth if it wants to survive.

Analysts at English firm Juniper Research are predicting that global revenue from wearable devices will triple by 2016, but level off at $53.2 billion by 2019. While the researchers have no doubt smartwatches, glasses, bracelets and other wearables will have a huge impact as players such as Google (GOOGL) , Samsung  (SSNLF) , Under Armour  (UA) and others enter the market, they fear consumers will be reluctant to adopt another device after years of consolidation if there isn't a compelling reason to do so.

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Americans are already uncertain about the need for wearable technology, but the Juniper researchers observed that global consumers are similarly unsure about the use case for many wearable devices, including watches and glasses. In particular, consumers are hesitant to adopt wearable companion devices with functions similar to that of smartphones. Any wearable device is going to have to serve a distinct purpose it it is going to last. Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, tends to agree.

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