All of the hype over health-oriented wearables comes despite the devices' failure to succeed with a key demographic: women.
For instance, Fitbit, the wearable company that was valued at $4.1 billion after going public in June, is getting 70 percent of its profits from men, according to a recent Forbes story on women and wearables.
A study by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness sought to discover why women, who are by no means less health conscious than men, were less interested in wearable wellness devices. A survey of women between the ages of 25 and 34 –– the key demographic for the future of wearables –– suggested some answers.
For starters, most women don't buy into the notion that wellness is mostly about physical health. Only 12 percent of survey respondents described physical wellbeing as their definition of wellness, compared to 76 percent who believe it has more to do with emotional wellbeing. Perhaps products marketed as furthering "wellness" aren't convincing unless they offer a component that deals with psychological health.
Saatchi & Saatchi further suggested that wearable manufacturers may have overestimated the appeal of glamour to female consumers. Making their products prettier was clearly the intent of Google Glass and FitBit's decisions to partner with designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Tory Burch, respectively.
But the survey showed that only 43 percent of respondents said that aesthetic quality was the number one reason for their last purchase of over $1,000, suggesting that marketers should focus more on functionality than flare.
“Tech companies creating a fashionable wearable without an understanding of what women want out of health and wellness is ineffective," Share Mandler Suchotliff, SVP of engagement strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, told Forbes.
Finally, the survey suggested that a successful wellness product for women will incorporate a much stronger "social component." The poll found that 88 percent of women get their health information from friends and family, rather than a medical professional. Suchotliff suggested that women are more interested in being a part of a group in which friends support each other's goals, rather than engaging in competition, a dynamic that many wearables focus on.
“Competition was such a turnoff. It may have some short-term engagement but that isn’t what they [surveyed women] wanted," said Suchotliff.
Makers of health-oriented applications are certainly aware that many users want to be able to share their accomplishments with friends and family. Nearly 40 percent of health apps now allow users to post their data to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.