Antecedents of wrist-based fitness tracker usage amongst members of the South African Generation Y cohort
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Wrist-based fitness trackers are known as the most popular wearable activity tracker compared to other wearable devices that have the ability to detect a variety of metrics, including steps taken, sport profiles, heart-rate data, sleep patterns and active minutes. These devices enable users to display the time and pace of their indoor and outdoor activities, such as walking, running, hiking, cycling and swimming, whilst receiving real-time feedback on their wrists as well as their smartphones. In South Africa, wearable devices had a market penetration rate of six percent in 2019, which is expected to grow to 6.2 percent in 2023. Furthermore, revenue generated by the sale of these devices in South Africa, is expected to grow by 5.3 percent, resulting in a market value of approximately R915 billion in 2023. The continuous innovation and improvement of wrist-based fitness devices, combined with the constant addition of new models, leads to the increased compatibility with consumers’ personal needs and preferences. As such, higher adoption tendencies regarding such devices are imminent. Wrist-based fitness device users have an increased awareness of their physical and cognitive activities that lead to healthier lifestyles and improved methods of communicating with each other. However, literature pertaining to wrist-based fitness trackers amongst the South African Generation Y cohort is limited, where a search of the literature only revealed studies about wearable technologies, wearable fitness technologies, the accuracy of these devices, as well as adoption processes of future technology. Considering that a large number of South African consumers form part of the Generation Y cohort (35.12%), individuals tend to associate themselves with a higher social status and trends that ultimately results in an increased likelihood of adopting a wrist-based fitness tracker. It is essential to investigate Generation Y members’ usage of wrist-based fitness trackers and the factors that influence their attitude towards the usage of such devices. As such, the technology acceptance model (TAM) was extended to include Generation Y members’ perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived social image and perceived cost to determine whether a statistically significant influence on their attitude towards wrist-based fitness tracker usage was found. In accordance with the TAM, if found significant, the outcomes will have an implied effect on members’ intention to use wrist-based fitness trackers. The primary objective of this study was to determine the antecedents that influence Generation Y members’ attitude towards usage of wrist-based fitness trackers in the South African context. The target population of this study was defined as all South African Generation Y individuals who participated in registered parkrun events during 2019, ranging between the ages of 18 and 33 years. The sampling frame comprised the 221 registered South African parkrun events, as of 2019. A single cross-sectional, non-probability convenience sample of three parkrun events was selected. The parkrun events were in the Free State and Gauteng provinces South Africa, of which two parkrun events were situated in the Free State province and one parkrun event in the Gauteng province. A convenience sample of 450 Generation Y parkrunners who participated at these three parkrun events, was drawn for this study. To gather the data for this study, permission for parkrunners to complete the questionnaire was obtained from the main organisers of all the applicable parkrun events prior to distribution, where the outcome of these meetings was obtained by means of written proof of this agreement to distribute the questionnaires at the selected parkrun events. Thereafter, hand-delivered self-administered questionnaires were distributed to parkrunners at each event for completion, which were collected immediately thereafter. The construct items of the questionnaire were measured on a six-point Likert scale based on the participants’ agreement or disagreement with items designed to measure their attitude towards wrist-based fitness tracker usage, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived social image and perceived cost. The data collected were analysed using exploratory factor analysis, reliability and validity analysis, descriptive statistical analysis, one sample t-test, correlation analysis and regression analysis. The findings of this study indicate that South African Generation Y members have a positive attitude towards wrist-based fitness tracker usage, perceiving such devices as being useful and easy to use. Furthermore, Generation Y members perceive wrist-based fitness trackers as having a positive social image, but as being costly. Moreover, Generation Y members’ perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived social image and perceived cost of wrist-based fitness trackers to have a statistically significant influence on their attitude towards wrist-based fitness tracker usage. Insights gained from this study will assist wrist-based fitness tracker manufacturers and marketing practitioners to understand Generation Y members’ attitude towards wrist-based fitness tracker usage in order to develop several marketing strategies to keep a strong competitive advantage in the wearable device industry in South Africa.