Data security and time investment are hurdles for smartwatch payments

gfkNuremberg, March 18, 2015 – According to a GfK survey, only an average of 35 percent of consumers in China, Germany, South Korea and the UK are currently interested in mobile payment via smartwatch. A further qualitative survey conducted by GfK has revealed the reasons for this skepticism.

The majority of consumers above all consider the new smartwatches to be useful for fitness and health monitoring. In Germany, only 20 percent of respondents were actively interested in their use for making payments. Consumers were also hesitant about this option in South Korea (28 percent) and the UK (27 percent). Enthusiasm was greater among consumers in the USA, with 40 percent of respondents expressing interest.

In a workshop on user behavior led by GfK experts, participants from the UK identified three significant barriers. One concern is that the security of payment via smartphone might not be adequate. In addition, respondents think that acceptance of the payment function is not yet sufficiently widespread and takes more time than cash or card payments. The added value versus other payment methods is also not apparent.       

“Although the smartwatch has been positioned as a major trend segment by all major technology companies, consumers are still rather reluctant to embrace this new product,” comments Robert Wucher, Head of Technology and Digital Solutions at GfK. “Our studies to date have shown that users do not yet fully comprehend or are even averse to the wide range of application options offered by wearable devices. Providers are currently lacking a comprehensive understanding of the relevant user needs in order to respond with a corresponding strategy for that behavior.”       

Planned GfK baseline survey on wearables

GfK is planning to conduct a broad baseline survey which will help smartwatch providers to develop successful business strategies. The survey will be carried out on the basis of a multi-client approach in which any interested companies can participate. This will ensure maximum efficiency and economic benefits. The survey insights will support the optimization of resources, for example in product development and communications, in this way significantly increasing the return on investment. To find out more, visit

The method

In August 2014, smartphone owners in China, Germany, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the USA were surveyed. In each country, there were 1,000 respondents of the online survey.

GfK’s expert workshop on user behavior was carried out with six participants from the UK in February 2015.

About GfK

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