Consumers fear wearables privacy loss, unless the price is right

Wearables would seem to be all the rage on tech media catwalks, but not so much with the general public. The problem: concerns about privacy.

If wearables are to truly take off like many tech vendors would hope, consumers will need a dramatic change in attitude about the cutting-edge technology. Indeed, four out of five consumers cite privacy issues as their biggest concern for adopting wearable technology.

Still, offer consumers coupons or discounts, or help them with health and lifestyle maintenance, and you're half way there.

Those are among the findings of recent research from Accenture Interactive, in its "2014 State of the Internet of Things" study.

"Eighty percent of consumers have privacy concerns with wearable Internet of Things (IoT) connected technologies," the research firm notes on its blog website. Ironically, "half of those same consumers said they would be willing to share personal data collected by such devices with third-party retailers when presented with compensation such as a coupon or discount."

So the real lesson is that privacy has a price. In fact, only 9 percent of consumers state they would share data generated by wearable devices with brands for free.

In terms of who consumers are willing to share such data with: doctors come out on top (cited by 53 percent), followed by family members (27 percent) and friends (17 percent).

The top ranking of doctors makes sense, given the enticements that consumers say would convince them to part with their privacy and share wearable data. The top four are all health and nutrition related:

  • 28 percent say coupons and discounts based on their lifestyle
  • 22 percent say information on better workouts to reach their goals
  • 22 percent say information on the best foods to eat to reach their goals
  • 19 percent say coupons for fitness gear

"It's clear that while couponing makes consumers more likely to share personal data, there's still a great deal of uncertainty around the security of these devices," the report notes. "Companies will have to address consumers' very real security concerns before any widespread adoption can take root."

For more:
- check out the Accenture report highlights

Related Articles:
Wearables in the workplace? Think BYOD
Wearable band shipments soared 684% in the first half of year, says Canalys
The shift from wearables to pervasive sensor data