Wearable tech–such as Google Glass, or the much-rumored iWatch–is getting a lot of buzz. Early polling results point to limited consumer enthusiasm. But as every political junkie knows, early polls often get it wrong.

In this case, a poll suggest that technology users wear has greatest appeal among young consumers with limited incomes. And from a fashion perspective, this might not be so bad: This is a group that often creates styles that are only later borrowed by the fashion industry. And Steve Jobs famously argued that consumers don’t know what tech they want until they see it.

Not Appealing (Yet) to the Upscale Market

As Matt Hamblen reports at InfoWorld, early polling offers a result that might seem surprising: So-called wearable tech draws only mixed reviews from the public. And, in particular, it does not get a strong response from well-heeled consumers.

This could potentially pose a challenge to manufacturers. The initial releases of Google Glass, and its rumored rival the Apple computerized watch (which may or may not be called the iWatch), are likely to be on the pricey side. Yet the polling data shows that the greatest enthusiasm for wearable technology (47 percent) is among consumers with annual incomes below $35,000. Among those making $100,000 or more, interest falls to 35 percent.

The poll was conducted by Opinion Research and commissioned by IT staffing firm Modis. According to the firm’s Matthew Ripaldi, the results were something of a surprise. Ripaldi thought that wearable tech “would resonate more with those making over $100,000, especially because they tend to be technically savvy and will buy the latest iPhone when it comes out.”

The polls did bear out another common perception: The appeal of wearable tech was greatest among young consumers.

Fashion Begins on the Streets

Young people with modest incomes are often the demographic in which popular styles originate–only later does the fashion industry pick up on them and market the styles to more upscale consumers. Given that wearable tech is at least in part a fashion statement, this may not be such bad news.

Even more to the point, chances are that most people have barely even heard of it. Google Glass and the rumored iWatch may be generating huge buzz in techie circles, but the more general public has probably heard only a snaky remark or two about wearable computers.

And as Steve Jobs showed, consumers often don’t know what they want until they see it. Only when wearable tech actually enters the marketplace will we start to learn what people really think of it.


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