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: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

The hottest new trend at Millennial companies: student loan repayments. In a 2015 Iontuition survey, eight in ten respondents say they would like to work for a company that offers student loan repayment assistance, and about half say they prefer student debt help over 401(k) contributions. The benefit has also been shown to deter employees from job-hopping and instead stay to “reap the entirety” of it. Despite the high interest, only 4% of companies are currently offering such programs—including Aetna, Fidelity Investments, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and SoFi—but a change in legislation that will make the “benefit more favorable from a tax standpoint” may motivate others to follow. (Forbes

Fast casual restaurant Zoës Kitchen sees kids as the “no nugget generation.” The restaurant is debuting an updated kids’ menu that focuses on a variety of nutritious made-from-scratch meals for the “next generation of foodies,” including salmon or shrimp kabobs, ham and cheese piadina made with fresh mozzarella, and an orzo pasta bowl. The President of Zoës Kitchen, who happens to be the father of two young daughters, say that the kids of today “love experiencing new flavors, and gladly choose kabobs and hummus over fries… Ultimately, they crave food that makes them feel good.” (Business Wire

A new documentary is putting six recent graduates in the spotlight as they navigate the startup world in Detroit. Generation Startup, created by an Oscar-winning director, is revealing the “big sacrifices” young entrepreneurs are making “in the hopes of building something new, exciting and, hopefully, financially rewarding.” The graduates are all fellows or alumni for Venture of America, an organization that assists aspiring entrepreneurs, and are faced with challenges that include working 18-hour days, living in uncomfortable environments, and handling disapproval from parents who encourage a more stable career path. (Fast Company

According to a 2016 Bankrate survey, Millennials are great at saving—but that’s mostly because they have to be. About 62% of 18-29-year-olds are saving at least 5% of their income, which has become even more necessary in unreliable workplaces of today. Employers are increasingly hiring temporary employees or independent contractors, and as a result are not offering benefits like health insurance and paid leave. Many Millennials who can save have also been privileged with access to their parents’ financial help, which white children are three more likely to have than black children. (Quartz

Pokémon mania is passing its peak. Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia data have revealed that “Pokémon Go's daily active users, downloads, engagement, and time spent on the app per day are all well off their peaks and on a downward trend,” which many have observed is expected of any app that receives such intense initial attention. In our recent survey on Pokémon Go players we found that more than half consider the game a fad that no will care about a year from now. Google Trends data is also showing declining interest in augmented reality, however the possibilities of the technology shouldn’t be discounted after so many young consumers showed they will embrace it. (Bloomberg

Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is a two-way street of respect and telling the truth.”—Female, 17, WI

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