Wearables In Automotive: A Solution In Search Of A Problem?

A recent study from the In-vehicle UX group at Strategy Analytics ( surveying consumers in the US and Western Europe has confirmed low interest in wearables for automotive use-cases.

While younger males and luxury car owners appeared to be most interested in the US, strong interest was below 20% across all Western European segments. Despite the market for wearables (and in particular smartwatches) poised for strong growth, wearables in automotive remain arguably a solution in search of a problem.

Investigating two key use cases for wearables in the car – i) detecting and monitoring a driver’s medical condition (i.e. a supplementary heart rate monitor); and ii) remote functionality, (such as remote start or automatic parking) – Strategy Analytics noted that interest in the use of wearables for on-board heart rate monitors was below 45% for both regions. Further, interest in remote functionality was below 50% in the US and below 40% in Western Europe.

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Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author commented, “A peripheral heart-rate monitor synced to an on-board Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) certainly adds tangible value and an increased perception of safety. But communicating that value to consumers is crucial to increased interest and ultimately adoption. Our findings indicate that outside of a relatively small number of younger American consumers and luxury car owners, this will be a tough proposition.”

Continued Viita, “In addition, wearable compatibility for remote functionality (e.g. remote parking) has a similar problem. This type of capability certainly adds value and a “wow” factor, but there is little strong interest in use of this remote functionality outside of young US males and US luxury car owners.”

Chris Schreiner, Director, User Experience Innovation Practice added, “What these results do is highlight the disconnect between those consumers who would be interested in such features and those that actually purchase vehicles. Wearable connectivity would certainly tick the box in terms of adding additional features, but the usefulness and ultimately the usage of those features is still in question.”