NEW YORK, April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent study from Horizon Media's Finger on the Pulse — the agency's proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the U.S. population — close to two-thirds of people 18-65 (62%) say they aren't interested in owning the recently announced Apple Watch.
Interest in the Apple Watch lags that of the company's other recent innovation, Apple Pay. The current study finds that just 2 in 10 (21%) say they are interested in owning the new high-tech timepiece. As a comparison, earlier Horizon research found 50% of smartphone users expressed interest in using Apple Pay when it launched -- more than twice as many as are interested in Apple Watch now. Only 17% of those surveyed are neutral on the prospect of owning an Apple Watch, suggesting there aren't many fence-sitters to convert to purchasers.
"The results surprised us because new Apple products are typically in high demand," said Kirk Olson, VP of Trendsights at Horizon Media. "It's true that consumers often don't see the potential of new technologies before experiencing them first-hand. But the high level of negativity is a clear signal consumers are questioning the value of yet another connected device, even if it is from Apple."
In fact, while the hefty price tag for Apple's sleek timepiece range is the top deterrent (73%), the biggest challenge may be consumers' lack of interest in owning another connected device. When asked for the top five reasons they aren't interested in Apple Watch, more than half of detractors (53%) say they simply don't want another connected device while nearly 4 in 10 say owning an Apple Watch would be "just another technology distraction."
"Although we hear Apple is marketing this as more of a luxury good—which would help to negate the cost issue," Olson continued. "We're also seeing signs that hyper-connected consumers see the value of disconnection. That can mean playing the phone stacking game at restaurants, loading mobile activity monitoring apps like Moment, or deciding Apple Watch isn't for them. At Horizon we call this trend 'Noise Reduction.; Given this trend, perhaps the new luxury good positioning is a smart move as it takes the emphasis off technology and puts it more on style."
Not everyone is bearish about the Apple Watch. Not surprisingly, Millennials in particular look to be the best hope, at least for Apple's first foray, with 30% saying they'd be interested in owning one compared to 21% of Gen Xers and 14% of Boomers. This is consistent with the general interest in wearables, according to a 2014 study by Acquity, in which 36% of Millennials planned to adopt wearable technology vs. only 25% of Boomers.
"Having grown up in a tech-enabled world makes it very natural for Millennials to be more open to the next and newest piece of technology. For them technology is just a natural part of life, and any improvements on the tech scene mean the potential for a better way of life. Their instinctual response is to see new devices as something beyond just technology, more as great opportunities—portals to know, do and be more. And early adopters will see the historical and 'cool' value in owning the first one. For others, it's more about the learning curve challenge and a concern about being inundated with too much, said Sheri Roder, Chief of Horizon's WHY Group. "This younger cohort identifies with Apple—and its products—because Apple tends to see the world the way they do."
Compared to other generational cohorts, Millennials are less likely to say they don't need another gadget keeping them connected: just 40% of 18-34 year-olds agree, compared to 56% of Gen Xers and 58% of Boomers. They are also half as likely as other generations to call the Watch 'just another technology distraction'. Key appeals of the watch have to do with the ability to surf the web from their wrist (54%) and no longer needing to always pull out their phone to do this (43%).
Detractors don't find the promise of Apple Watch convenient or innovative. Rounding out the top reasons they're not interested are: it's too small to use for texting, email, browsing the internet, etc. (35%); using apps on the Apple Watch doesn't appeal to them (29%); and it doesn't add features or benefits they can't get from other devices (25%).
Even men, typically important as early adopters of tech, show signs of skepticism toward Apple Watch. Compared to women, men are more likely to agree "wearing an Apple Watch will mean you are trying too hard to be cool" (62% of men vs. 54% of women) and less likely to agree "wearing an Apple Watch will mean you are a tech-forward person" (46% of men, vs. 58% of women). Nearly a third of men (32%) men say Apple Watch doesn't add features or benefits they can't get from other devices, compared to just 19% of women.
Not surprisingly, the smaller group of Apple Watch proponents have many more positive things to say about the device. Compared to detractors, they're 8 times more likely to agree that everyone is going to wish they owned the device, nearly 4 times more likely to call it an exciting innovation, and more than twice as likely to say wearing the Apple Watch means you are a tech-forward person.
"Apple is a strong brand with a first-class marketing organization behind it," said Olson. "If anyone can overcome the potential challenges, Apple can. But our research points out that the zeitgeist around mobile connectivity is evolving."
Finger on the Pulse empowers the agency to connect directly with 3,000 consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights.
About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association.
The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.2 billion and over 1000 employees.
The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.
SOURCE Horizon Media