NEWS14 October 2014

Europeans more reticent on smartwatch functionality

Europe Healthcare News

GERMANY — From tickets to travel to monitoring sports performance, consumers around the world are seeing opportunities in data use via smartwatches according to an international study from GfK.


Gathering sports activities, navigation, phone calls and apps are the main applications that respondents were interested in. However in many of the findings, Europeans were more hesitant in embracing the functions than the Americans and Chinese.

The survey found that Americans and Chinese are more open to the idea of using smartwatches as identity cards and payment systems, while Europeans were less so.  

Healthcare functions were of interest: nearly half of everyone surveyed across the five countries said they would be interested in using a smartwatch to provide doctors or hospitals with their personal healthcare data. Chinese were the most receptive ( 69%) compared with 50% in the US and 43% in South Korea. Only about a third of Europeans expressed an interest and just one quarter in Germany.

Other findings include Chinese ( 63%), Koreans ( 54%) and US ( 41%) being happy to use a smartwatch as a travel ticket while only 32% of UK and 31% of Germans were.

Overall, 45% of respondents say they would be interested in using a smartwatch as secure identification to log on to personal computers or access online accounts. Interest in this function increases with age, starting at 42%of 16- to 29-years-old, and rising to 46% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 48% of the over-50s. On a country by country basis, China shows most interest in this function ( 68%).

And when it comes to using smartwatches for mobile payment only 35% of respondents across the five countries were interested in this facility at present. The most potential for this is in China, where interest increases to 54% of those surveyed, compared with 40% in the US, 27% in the UK and just 20% in Germany. 

GfK asked 1,000 smartwatch owners in each market if they would be interested in being able to carry out specific functions via a smartwatch, assuming they could save and send their data securely. It took place in August 2014.