3 Wearable Technologies that Could Change Market Research

Madhav Mirani, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Ugam,

Let’s face it – traditional approaches to market research are becoming outdated. The days of designing a questionnaire, figuring out how to get it in front of consumers, incentivizing them to answer all of the questions, collecting and analyzing the data, and finally publishing the analysis are on their way out . Up to this point, we’ve asked questions of our audiences because we don’t have other ways to get the data we need from consumers. However, with questionnaires getting longer and more complex and attention spans getting shorter, consumers are rarely eager to fill out questionnaires asking their gender, age, ethnicity, and then going on and on from there.

With all the technologies we have available at our fingertips today, there are even better ways to acquire data and information passively (permission-based of course) and only ask specific, pointed questions for the necessary data. We believe that “wearables” are going to revolutionize many industries, and that market research will be one of them. Below are three wearable devices that we think will drastically impact the way we generate data from consumers.


  1. Apple Health App and Healthkit: Recently, Apple launched the Health app and HealthKit for developers to build more apps, but think about the application from a research perspective. The app allows users to store health data such as doctor visits and personal information. As a researcher, if you didn’t even need to ask someone to remember the last time they visited the doctor (because you already know), you could more directly target those who fit your desired profile for your study and go straight to asking your specific questions. This approach can save valuable time for you and your consumers, while also allowing you to remove unnecessary questions from your surveys.
  2. iBeacon: iBeacon from Apple is another interesting technology that is slowly gaining momentum. While the focus of iBeacon is to revolutionize the retail experience, the implications for research are very interesting. With access to location data, we can figure out exactly where someone spent time within the identified perimeter, and we then ask pointed questions based on the information we already know.
  3. Fitbit: Fitbit has already recognized the power of the data they collect and are enabling developers to get access to the data through APIs. You can see data that shows how active someone is on a day-to-day basis. This might enable very specific targeting of questions to a select audience. You can even access data on how much someone weighs. Again, for very specific research problems and questions, the power of that data is incredible.
  4. Google Glass: This wearable probably gets the most publicity, and there are interesting ways in which one could leverage Google Glass for research purposes. Google Glass will presumably be producing data on what consumers are looking at, which could be combined with the “why” questions to result in some very powerful insight. It could also simulate a virtual 3D experience of something you want to test with a consumer which would enable a more cost-effective and practical way to get some answers.
We believe that we are near a tipping point when it comes to wearables. Today, they are still a niche product and used by a small percentage of the population, making any research applications limited. However, the growth of these products will be on a vertical trajectory in the near future, and once that happens, we will see the impact on research very, very quickly.

Some of the content from this article was originally published on RWConnect.

The Author:
With over 19 years of experience, Madhav is responsible for all sales, business development, and marketing initiatives. Prior to Ugam, Madhav led the Treasury function at Sakura Capital India. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering as well as a degree in Economics from The Wharton School.


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