Annenberg center researches smart watches

Smart watches are probably not the next big thing in technology, according to the Center for the Digital Future, a research institute under USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, whose researchers have been following the same group of people for 13 years.  According to the study, only 3 percent of those surveyed use smart watches.

Back to the Future · The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is a hotspot for student and professors conducting research. - Joseph Chen | Daily Trojan

Back to the Future · The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is a hotspot for student and professors conducting research. – Joseph Chen | Daily Trojan

According to, the annual study, which “has given the think tank long-range insights into changing consumer behavior,” has also shown that smart watches may not have the same appeal as smartphones hold for the younger demographic.

The sale of smart watches is expected to grow from 1 million to 36 million in the next five years, according to a Juniper Research report. The report described the devices as “a smart wearable appcessory that can be worn on a user’s wrist, offering a range of smart functionalities in conjunction with an external platform, such as the smartphone or tablet.” Companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have plans to enter this growing market.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the results of the smart watch study align with other market research surveys. Statistics show that consumers are largely uninterested in gadgets such as Nike’s Fuel Band, Google Glass and smart watches.

The study made note of millennials’ aversion to smart watches in particular.

“A lot of the millennial behavior is transitory … But as people age, they still are not wearing watches, and we’ll begin to find out next month if that behavioral change is transformational,” Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, told Los Angeles Times.

Many students said they would rather have a smartphone than a smart watch, supporting the study’s findings.

“I don’t think I would want that around my wrist. You use [a watch] for time, but most people use it as an accessory function. It’s for fashion,” Yu Jin, a junior majoring in communications and international relations, said.

Some students, however, think a watch might be more practical than a phone.

“I would wear a smart watch. It’s a lot more convenient than carrying a phone around,” Omar Nasir, a junior majoring in business administration, said. “People wear watches anyway, and to have a watch that you can use as a phone is even better.”

As the Annenberg study shows people have differing opinions on whether or not the smart watch has the potential to surpass the smartphone. One of students’ main concerns was how much a smart watch would be accessible in classrooms.

“The screen is too small which gives it limited use. It’s not accurate. It could also get damaged when doing stuff. If you go to school, they’ll make you take it off,” Minh La, a senior studying computer science, said.

Others believe schools might give a little more leeway to the watches.

“It does seem very practical. However, it makes me wonder how to use our phones in class, but what can they do to students when we are wearing a watch? I can’t imagine them banning a watch,” said Ayisha Emerson, an undecided sophomore.


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1 reply
  1. Karl Cope
    Karl Cope says:

    It must be far too early to see the impact of so-called smart watches on both the mobile phone market and the ‘traditional’ watch market. Annenberg are right that the ‘next big thing’ often fails to match the hype. Time will tell.

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