Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said wearables are an emerging technology that will take five to 10 years to reach mainstream consumer acceptance.
One factor working against smart watches is the limited size of the display, which could make it harder to read, especially for older eyes.
"Yes, exactly, eyesight is a factor," Ripaldi said. "In meetings, I hear people wonder how the display would work, which tells me there are lots of questions around the technology."
The survey also found that Americans with younger eyes want wearable technology. The only age group with a significant majority wanting either smart watches or smart glasses was the 18-34 category, with 57% saying they would purchase or wear smart glasses, and 53% saying they are interested in a smart watch.
The numbers fell off considerably for older groups, with ages 35 to 44 responding with 44% interested in smart glasses and 52% interested in a smart watch. Older age groups were much less interested.
The less than 50% interest in wearables has not limited Sony and other manufacturers of smart watches. On June 25, Sony announced the SmartWatch 2, with a 1.6-in. color LCD display, which ships globally in September.
In a statement with the announcement, Sony noted that 41 million smart watches will be sold by 2016. "The future of wearable devices is incredibly bright," said Stefan Persson, head of companion products at Sony Mobile.
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