Fitness Devices ‘Will Dominate The Wearable Market’

The wearable device market is set to be dominated by fitness-focused devices such as trackers and pedometers as more and more of us look to technology to help us get fitter, new research has predicted.

Analyst firm Juniper Research estimates that the number of fitness items on the market is set to treble over the next four years, spurred on by the release of several high-profile devices.

Fitbit is highlighted as the brand most likely to emerge as the leading player it the fitness tracking market, although Juniper says that the company’s decision not to integrate with Apple Health may harm their market share in the short term.

On track

Overall, there are currently around 19 million devices worldwide, a figure which is set to soar to around 70 million by 2018, according to the firm

This rise will be helped as more manufacturers embrace the wearables market, with low-cost fitness trackers set to be a major growth field over the next few years, the research predicts.

Juniper’s report, Smart Health & Fitness Wearables: Device Strategies, Trends & Forecasts 2014-2019, sees ‘basic’ trackers, like Xiaomi’s $13 MiBand, becoming popular due to their value, while more complex devices, such as the Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band and Samsung Gear Fit, will offer additional features beyond fitness, such as notifications and music control.

However, Juniper does believe that smartwatches, which often straddle the border between fitness device and purely aesthetic wearable technology piece, will see a surge in popularity in the next few years particularly as such devices begin to offer a wide range of services. The likes of the Apple Watch and Motorola 360 will set a precedent for other major manufacturers to follow, with Samsung, Sony and LG also playing a key role with their offerings.

However, Juniper predicts that more aesthetically-minded consumers will still choose watches, as fitness-focused devices will prioritise function over form.

The firm’s findings appear to oppose those discovered by Accenture earlier this year, which found that two thirds of Britons were still wary of wearable technology. The research found that only 29 percent of UK adults would be interested in buying a smart watch,  and 26 percent would be interested in buying Internet-connected eyeglasses such as Google Glass.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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