In less than a year, awareness of wearable fitness devices among U.S. consumers has doubled, going from 30 percent last November to 70 percent at the end of July, according to the new NPD Connected Intelligence Consumers and Wearables Report. This increased awareness will help shape a strong holiday season.
Eddie Hold, NPD Group vice president of Connected Intelligence:
“Activity trackers are going to be a hot-selling item this holiday season. We expect to see a number of new devices hit the market helping to drive higher demand higher for the category but also price drops on some of the older devices — appeal for the holiday season.”
Ownership of fitness activity trackers in the US has also doubled, now at 10 percent which has helped propel the use of standalone fitness apps. Just over 25 percent of US consumers say they have used a fitness app on their smartphone at least once, and many of these do not require a wearable device to work, instead leveraging the smartphone’s sensors.
“It is easy to look at the adoption of standalone fitness apps and declare that the wearable activity tracker in superfluous, and that the smartphone app will ensure that the wearable device has a short-lived run, but it’s too narrow a view of the landscape. We expect to see initial use of the smartphone apps drive consumers to adopt wearable technology that is better suited to activity tracking than the smartphone. As such, the smartphone apps help to expand awareness and the need for the activity trackers over time.”
There is, however, some bad news for the wearable device market. Just over 40 percent of activity tracker owners no longer wear the device.
“This highlights a significant disconnect between what the consumer is hoping to achieve and what the initial products actually deliver. As such, the devices need to improve quickly in order to better meet the needs of the consumers.”