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 into…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I love the Amazon app because I can look up products that I want to buy and store them very easily. I also can scan barcodes while I'm in the store to check for the best price and if I want it, I can click one button to purchase it online instead of paying more for it in a store.” – Female, 29, FL

Millennials might be taking over the office, but their ink is still not totally welcome. According to Pew Research, 40% of Millennials have at least one tattoo, and 70% of the tattooed members of the generation say they hide them from their boss. A recent university survey found that 86% of students with visible tattoos believe they will have a harder time finding a job after graduation. This modern workplace woe could be one of the reasons behind the 46% increase in tattoo removal among young consumers in the last few years. (Time)

Just last month, a report that Walmart “indexes higher” amongst Millennials than with their parents caused some surprise—but now there’s another report here to tell you that Millennials might shop at Walmart, but they don’t LOVE Walmart. The retailer’s score in a metric of customer loyalty and satisfaction among younger shoppers is actually below average, and competitor Target outpaced them in 24 out of 25 scored categories. Amazon’s overall score was over 40% higher than Walmart’s. (Forbes)

The swift redefinition of fame includes a slew of YouTube creatives who have struck gold on the platform, and made millions with their vlogging careers. YouTube’s 5 biggest stars “have more subscribers than the population of Mexico” and some are “making as much money as Hollywood’s biggest stars." So how did they do it? Many were discovered by bigger brands and got some serious corporate backing to help their rise to the top. (Washington Post)

Young consumers have been credited with fueling a gig and sharing economy “revolution”—but proof of it is a little trickier to find. The number of self-employed Americans has actually declined in the past ten years, and the number of those who hold multiple jobs is also on the decline. “Hard evidence” for the impact of the gig economy isn’t clear, but there is also not much research looking specifically at Millennials’ participation. (WSJ)

We’ve seen several startup brands earn Millennials’ attention with video campaigns that have gone viral. (Dollar Shave Club anyone?) E-commerce site Chubbies is hoping for a viral hit of their own to build their young male audience, and the brand is finding their quirky videos are getting more engagement on Facebook than YouTube. One video posted last month has earned 900,000 views, 3,600 likes and nearly 1,000 shares on the platform. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Airbnb because I like to travel on a budget.” –Female, 22, NY

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