Guest Post: Generation X in China is the wariest of wearable technology due to data privacy concerns

Wearable electronics are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, including in China, where around 78% of the population own a smartwatch, a fitness tracker, or both. However, as such devices have access to a vast amount of sensitive data, like users’ health information, privacy and security concerns arise.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, based on the Rakuten Insight online survey, people born in Generation X (those born between the mid-1960-s and early 1980-s) are the most skeptical of wearable technology in China due to concerns over their personal data safety and privacy when stored by such devices.

In total, 27% of 45 to 54-year-olds in China who do not own any wearables indicated worry about their data safety and privacy as one of the reasons against purchasing one, while the same is true for 22% of people aged 55 and more. 

The younger generations are less bothered about wearable electronics’ privacy and safety implications. Nevertheless, nearly a fifth (19%) of Millennial survey respondents aged 25 to 44 stated safety and privacy concerns among the top deterrents to using wearables. In the meantime, 10% of respondents belonging to Generation Z (ages 16 to 24) do not use wearables for this reason.

Overall, 15% of survey participants indicated they would not buy wearable electronics in China due to data privacy and safety concerns. Males are more likely to distrust wearable devices due to such concerns (17%) than females (14%).

All in all, wearable technologies can be highly convenient, helping users evaluate their sleep quality, fitness levels, and overall health, among other things. However, to do so, wearable electronics collect a wide range of sensitive information, including users’ heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and GPS location, essentially enabling surveillance of individuals and their behaviors. When such information is stored, there is always a risk it can end up in the wrong hands or be misused. 

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