Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:37

Fitness wearables to dominate until 2018, then smartwatches take over

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Screenshot of Google Image search result for 'fitness wearables and smartwatches' Screenshot of Google Image search result for 'fitness wearables and smartwatches'

New data suggest fitness wearables will be the ‘it’ bits until 2018, but from then on, smartwatches will overtake with tens of millions more users.

Fitness wearables have just three more years of domination in the wearables market, with smartwatches to be less common over the same time period, according to the research and analytical gurus at Juniper Research.

Things then change in 2019 - fitness wearables are expected to be used by approximately 110 million people worldwide at the end of 2019, while smartwatches will have more than 130 million users.

The new research, dubbed ‘Future Health & Fitness Wearables: Business Models, Forecasts & Vendor Share 2016-2020,’ and, as per usual, on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices, observes that ‘the lines between the categories are starting to blur, with fitness wearables offering a range of call-handling and notification functions that can also be found in smartwatches.’

Indeed, we are told that ‘the existence of app-enabled fitness trackers, such as the Samsung Gear Fit and Microsoft Band, lessens the distinction even further.’

Of course, that’s the situation today, but things will presumably get even blurrier as technology becomes more advanced.

Juniper also points to its ‘Research Consumer Wearables Survey’ which found that ‘fitness devices are the most popular wearables because they are both cheaper and have a more obvious use than current smartwatches.’

Monetary Incentives Drive Fitness Wearables Adoption

The research also highlighted the role of monetary incentives in driving future device adoption, emphasising its increasing role in corporate wellness schemes.

This is even more expressly the case in the professional sports world, where wearables are becoming part of the training regimes of many teams, and form the majority of the market for clothes with integral fitness tracking.

Over time, Juniper says it ‘expects that wearables-measured performance will become a standard part of hiring practices, and potentially also players’ contractual obligations.’

Healthcare Wearables: Much Promise, Limited by Practicalities

The research also noted that while future electronic healthcare records will drive the use of dedicated wearables, the price of the devices and dependence on smartphones will hold them back from full adoption by universal healthcare systems.

Research author James Moar noted: “The use of wearables to track health shows promise, but such devices will not reach their full potential until they can become less dependent on mobile devices to relay their information, in addition to meeting healthcare data storage and relay requirements.”

More detail below, please read on.

As per usual, Juniper Research has a whitepaper with more information to tempt you into purchasing the full research.

The whitepaper is dubbed ‘Fitness Wearables ~ Time to Step Up,’ and is available for free download.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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