Now that the market for wearable devices in China is beginning to see strong growth, Chinese consumers are looking mainly for functionality and experiences in the health sphere.

In 2015, the Chinese market for wearable devices will be worth over 2.6 billion yuan, according to a recent report from market research and analysis firm Frost & Sullivan. Market experts agree that it will not be long before Chinese consumers, who are already smartphones adepts today, seize on these smart wearable objects. So how can firms adapt their products to the specific needs and habits of this growing market? MassThinker, a Shanghai-based design consultancy, has published some interesting ideas on how to address the market via six key trends that are expected to catch on very soon in China in the wearable devices sector. Health and the development of sensory functionality are likely to be at the forefront in the coming years.

Multiple role for wearable devices

First and foremost, wearable medical devices are set to move from passive to active mode, i.e. they will no longer just display analysis results but will also be equipped to provide their users with practical advice. For example, connected objects designed to improve psychological health are predicted to become very popular in China. Secondly, in addition to taking on part of the job of the family doctor, wearables will also provide the services of a personal manager – analysing, identifying and memorising its owner’s preferences and guiding him/her through a variety of activities, including shopping, sport, and housework. Thirdly, wearable devices will need to be able to guarantee data privacy for their owners. Perhaps they might even be used to help ensure personal safety as well, acting as a sort of bodyguard that will sound the alarm whenever there is impending danger in the vicinity.

Sensory, social and entertaining

The fourth trend described by Mass Thinker is the extension of human sensory capability. Google Glass has already enriched the user experience from a visual point of view, and future devices will perhaps also empower our hands and feet to accomplish tasks which so far they have not been able to perform. A fifth area is technologies such as Augmented Reality, which can turn wearable devices into superior entertainment tools so that users will very shortly be able to play virtual games when and where they wish. Last but not least, wearable devices will help to strengthen social ties, allowing people to communicate with friends and family via a range of connected objects, thus potentially turning wearables into another social media channel.

By Ruolin Yang