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New Zealand says no to smartwatch

IDC Research says New Zealand smartwatch adoption rates are less than half the worldwide average.

Just three New Zealanders in a hundred own a smartwatch. The number hasn’t changed in the last year. It is the same percentage as Japan.

In a survey of consumers in 26 countries, IDC found the average smartwatch adoption rate was eight percent.

When it comes to fitness wearables, sporty New Zealand bats a little above average. In 2016 the adoption rate climbed from nine percent to 11 percent.

smart watch adoption.

The numbers are unlikely to get better. IDC says only 13 percent of New Zealand consumers expect to buy a wearable in the future. This is already having an effect on the number of devices shipped here. There’s less selection on sale and that in turn suppresses interest and demand.

As IDC notes, the figures show New Zealanders are pragmatic about buying technology. We didn’t get caught up in the hype behind wearable devices.

Fitness yes, smartwatch no

This makes sense. Fitness wearables have clear benefits and tend to be inexpensive. Smart watches are often costly and, fitness applications aside, don’t do much to make people more productive or to increase the quality of life.

When Apple first sold its Watch, the emphasis was on its style and an ability to communicate. Fitness was an afterthought.

Almost no-one in New Zealand picked the Apple Watch as a fashion statement. Geeks and technology types were the main buyers. Most say they value the notifications they get from the Watch more than anything else.

But fitness comes a close second. It became the main justification to buy an Apple Watch.

Smartwatch sales have disappointed the companies making them. In July IDC reported year-on-year sales were down 32 percent.

Apple is the top brand. It sold 1.6 million Watches in the year, but it saw a 55 percent fall in sales.