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The Art of the future: when nail art meets wearable technology

by Jessie NDri , 05.11.2014

The growth of wearable technologies has been a true revolution in the technology market, generating excitement for a variety of reasons. Wearable technology addresses a number of consumer needs, such as the need for the latest innovations and the need for maximum convenience and simplicity in their lives. Most importantly, it is a source of fun. Google Glass or Samsung Galaxy Gear are typical of the kind of technology that has lit up the marketplace with their originality.

However, in an era where the consumer has the ability to customize and personalize most things, it could be remiss for those kinds of technologies not to be more tailored to each consumer. Yes, Google Glass comes in five colors but apart from that, nothing really characterizes the wearer on his own. In fact the eagerness for tailored products and services is growing globally, with 46% of consumers agreeing they like to buy products that can be tailored to their needs. This is a facet that companies should not neglect in their offer.

Jenny Rodenhouse and Kristina Ortega, two MFA (Master of Fine Arts) candidates, had a brilliant idea to tackle this gap in the wearable technology market, by combining technology with nail art. As they put it on their website, ”if wearables are going to be adopted into our everyday lives then we are going to have to stop designing them with the idea of one-size-fits-all in mind.”

From runways to streets, nail art has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is now a key area of personalization for many consumers. It’s worth bearing in mind that 34% of global consumers consider that their individuality is reflected in how they look and what they buy. The ubiquity of the service also makes it accessible to all, even those on the lowest budgets. That is exactly why the two candidates had the perfect idea to expand wearable tech to the nail art market.

Their devices combine decorative designs, peculiar shapes and wacky colors with digital sensors that track users’ movements –or, in case of someone trying to quit smoking, remind them not to make a familiar gesture, like lighting a cigarette. Rodenhouse and Ortega also claim that their device has practical functions: the device is tracking what’s going on inside your body, such as monitoring how much we lift or smoke cigarettes, and last, it is a basic programmatic reminder (morning alarm etc.).

The downside to this technology could be the fact that unlike the other wearable technologies, this one requires regular self-maintenance, and nail salon updates. Plus, women could be apprehensive about having electronic devices constantly stuck to their body. Keeping in mind that the simpler is the better is essential regarding the wearable technologies, in fact 32% of consumers reveal that if new products are not simple, they lose interest. Manufacturers need to be 100% transparent and clear on the components of the device and on the possible undesirable effects if indeed there are any, as while consumers are eager to experiment with novel technologies, they are always looking for safety and security too.

Taking the example of this more-than-original combination of technology and art, tech-oriented marketers should try to target more the “customized-personalized” market. In fact, as technology become universal, the virtual element of our personality will become more important. But it is important to keep in mind that technology can either complicate our lives, leading to a need for rationalization or help to bring order and control to busy lives. Be sure to have a clear message, an easy way to use and an efficient result in your consumers’ lives.

Jessie N’Dri is Consumer Trends Manager for GfK’s Market Oppotunities and Innovation team.  She can be reached at jessie.ndri@gfk.com.