Despite offering a range of price points, makers of
smart watches and fitness trackers are still contributing to a broader digital divide.
That’s according to Pew Research Center, which found a large disparity in the number of wealthy and
less wealthy consumers wearing such technology.
As of last summer, about 3-in-10 U.S. consumers living in households earning $75,000 or more a year reported regularly wearing a smart watch or
a fitness tracker, compared with 12% of those whose annual household income fell below $30,000.
Following a similar pattern, college graduates reported the adoption of such devices at higher
rates (27%) vs. those who had a high-school education or less (15%).
Overall, roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults said they were regularly wearing a smart watch or wearable fitness tracker, last
Upon analyzing responses from 4,272 U.S. adults, Pew found only modest differences in adoption based on race.
Leading other races, 26% of Hispanic respondents reported
regularly wearing a smart watch or a fitness tracker, followed by 23% of black respondents, and 20% of white respondents.
However, Pew did find a notable gender gap in its research.
Some 25% of female respondents reported regularly wearing a smart watch or a fitness tracker, compared to just 18% of male respondents.
Noting that fitness trackers can compile various data
about wearer’s health and activity, Pew noted a mix of respondent reactions regarding hardware makers’ access to such information.
About 4 in 10 U.S. consumers said it was
acceptable for gadget makers to share user data with medical researchers seeking to better understand the link between exercise and heart disease, while 35% considered this an unacceptable practice.
(Another 22% were unsure if this was an acceptable practice.)
Suggesting a trust gap between consumers of differences races and the tech industry, white adults (39%) were more likely than
black adults (31%) or Hispanic adults (26%) to see sharing their data as unacceptable.
As for generational differences, 47% of adults under the age of 50 said that sharing their data with
researchers was acceptable, compared with 35% of those 50 and older.