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: “Music plays a very important part in my life, especially since Beyoncé is my favorite artist. Her music helps me get through things.” –Male, 14, IL 

Millennials’ wanderlust is no secret, and Ypulse’s May monthly survey found that 72% of 13-32-year-olds are interested in travel. How they travel may be different from previous generations though. A study by Marriott Rewards Credit Card found that 84% of 18-34-year-olds would travel to participate in volunteer activities, compared to 68% of Xers and 51% of Boomers. Younger travelers are also more likely to seek out adventurous activities, and cultural hot spots. (Business Wire)

Short-form video has become more important than ever, and “YouTube alone” may not be enough to capture Millennial and teens’ attention. Short content like six-second Vine videos appeal to young consumers who are overwhelmed with content options, and want to easily share what they see. Brands that create “succinct, punchy, and memorable” clips can stand out—4% of the top 100 tracked Vine videos is already branded content. (Marketing Magazine)

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are going “natural” to appeal to health-conscious young consumers. The chains have announced that they’ll be eliminating artificial colors and chemical ingredients from menus in the coming months, including dyes and high fructose corn syrup. The move continues the trend of big food brands incorporating fresher and less processed ingredients, and attempting to appeal to Millennials’ dining preferences. (Mashable)

It’s graduation season, which means that thousands of diploma-toting Millennials will be coming face to face with their student loan debt. Earnest is a startup that wants to help them deal with it, and navigate a system that “isn’t built right.” The site helps members to refinance and manage all of their loans to reduce their payments and create a payment schedule in just a few clicks. (Fast Company)

Minecraft has become wildly popular with young consumers, so it only makes sense that other brands would want a piece of their virtual building action. Lego may be building a Minecraft rival, called “Lego Worlds” where players can create and explore a digital universe made, we would assume, with Legos. Speculation is that more information about the project, which has only been spotted on current Lego instructions, could come out at next month’s E3 conference. (The Next Web)

Are Millennials and teens watching more streaming than cable? Our tracked data trends have all the stats on that, thanks to our monthly survey of 1000 13-32-year-olds nationwide. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following their media consumption. We do the heavy data lifting for you, and we’re constantly adding new data to our trends. (Ypulse)

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