The market is awash with wearable devices such that it may be confusing when it comes to choosing the right one. From observations it is believed that 50 percent of those who will consider buying a smart wristband in the future will opt for a smart watch instead.
Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to drop from 70 million units this year to 68.1 units in 2015. According to Gartner research, this temporary dip in sales will be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart watches, smart wristbands and other wearable fitness monitors.
Angela McIntyre says that fitness wearables are used for tracking health, which goes hand in hand with fitness and wellness. Angela McIntyre is a research director at Gartner.
“Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analyzed using cognizant computing to provide useful insights to wearers.
“Funding initiatives from Google, Samsung, Qualcomm, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, and Intel, among others, will build on early innovation in wearable fitness and health monitoring and create the infrastructure for merging data relevant to health and fitness,” McIntyre says. She believes the five main fitness wearable form factors are sports watches, smart wristbands, heart rate monitor, chest straps other fitness monitors, and smart garments.
In comparison to smart wristbands that were first popularized by the Jawbone Up and launched in 2011, chest straps and sports watches are well established.
However, the smart garment product category has the greatest potential for growth going forward simply because the category is emerging from the testing phase and smart shirts are available to athletes and coaches of professional teams.
On the other hand, smart garment shipments are forecast to grow to 26 million units in 2016 from 0.1 million units this year. However, for the present, smart wristbands and other fitness monitors are the most popular form factors.
“Smart watches having retail prices of $149 or more will typically have the capability to track activity just like smart wristbands,” McIntyre says.
The smart watches, unlike the smart wristbands, do not need to display the time and have a user interface that is just oriented towards communication.
“However, some smart wristbands have the ability to display and send text messages.
“The overlap in functionality between smart wristbands and smart watches is expected to continue,” McIntyre adds.
According to Gartner, 2018 through 2020, 25 percent of smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will be sold through non-retain channels. During which time, smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will be offered increasingly by wellness providers, weight loss clinics gyms, insurance providers, or employers, sometimes for free or at subsidized prices.
The companies will serve as a growing distribution channel for device manufacturers and the new channels also result from fitness monitors being integrated into employee badges or identification bracelets for access control. B2C companies will have gamification or rewards linked to the use of wearables as a way of keeping customers engaged with their brands.