Are Smart Clothes the Real Future Of Wearable Tech?


2014 was supposed to be “the year of wearable tech,” but four months in, it seems clear that it’s going to take some time for wearables to go mainstream. The majority of attention is being paid to smartbands and smartwatches, and new entries to the market keep coming. Google has announced their expansion outside of Glass with smartwatch Android Wear, Nissan has unveiled a watch concept that would pair wearable tech with the car industry, Disney has made headlines with their new smartbands for guests, even Will.i.am is developing a smartwatch. The competition to be the star of tech that lives on our wrists is intense, but so far it is unclear whether consumers—even tech-hungry Millennials— are going to embrace these innovations. Research suggests that one-third of those who have purchased wearable tech abandoned their devices after just six months of use, causing some to wonder if the “next big thing” in tech is a harder sell than brands previously suspected. One of the big issues of wristband and Glass technology is that currently it is very noticeable and not necessarily stylish. We wrote that wearable tech would have to be either beautiful or undetectable to be embraced by a broader audience than the techie crowd, and the makers of these devices are heeding the warning, with Google partnering with glasses-maker Luxxotica for more fashionable Glass frames, and Intel working with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York to create a wristband that actually looks cool. 

So what will the future of wearable tech actually look like? The answer may lie in the items that we already wear everyday. Smart clothes have the advantage of being less detectable and potentially more fashion-forward than current wearable tech items. The category also has the potential to be more naturally integrated…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: 

Q: Imagine you just got home after trick-or-treating. What candy would you be most excited to eat?

A: “ALL OF IT! I may be 22, but I'm still allowed to act like a child once in a while!” –Male, 22, MN

Most Millennials don’t have a huge amount of disposable income to donate to charity, but they want to make a difference in the world—which is a big reason non-profits need to pay attention to them. For now, they prefer to give in smaller increments, but the size of the generation means that those micro-donations add up. They are also eager to have a chance to make a hands-on impact, so “more non-profits should consider how to get their Millennial supporters in the field.” (Huffington Post)

GIF-powered marketing is on the rise, and Netflix is taking it to the next level. Their new outdoor campaign in France is comprised entirely of GIF posters that will change depending on things like the weather and news events. A team will be creating custom GIFs from the shows and movies available on Netflix, which will then be broadcasted on the posters with an accompanying message. For example, if a team wins a big game, the GIF shown would be of a character celebrating, with a message about the victory. (Digiday)

It’s not news that college kids tend to drink heavily, but the reasons why they binge-drink might be more complicated than just wanting to party. One hypothesis is that today’s teens, who are growing up with high pressure to succeed and with less “unstructured leisure time” thanks to an extracurricular-packed schedules, just “don’t know how to relax.” Drinking provides a clear delineation between work and play, and gives them a coping mechanism for dealing with the free time and socializing that they just aren’t used to. (NYMag)

Modern moms and dads might be responsible for that steady feed of baby pictures on Facebook, and turn to online forums for baby-rearing support, but social media can also stress them out. A recent online survey reports that 60% of moms ages 18 to 34 (majority Millennials) say they wish they could cut back on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Excessive marketing, annoying invites, and the pressure to present a perfect life are all reasons these younger moms wish they could unplug. (ABC News)

Chat apps have become mainstays of young consumers’ communication, which means that written messages are even more temporary than ever. But what if they wanted to keep those digital chats for posterity? Memeoirs makes physical books of WhatsApp, Facebook, and email conversations, which means anyone could “create a library" of their digital life. (The Next Web)

We give you a dose of Millennial insight on a daily basis, but every quarter, we zoom our lens out to look at some of the larger trends happening within the generation—and why they matter to brands. Our Gold subscribers have access to the Ypulse Quarterly report, an in-the-know guide to Millennials that synthesizes the major trends and stats we’ve seen over the last quarter of the year. (Ypulse)

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