Smartwatches To Take Smart Wristband Market Share In 2015
Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to reach 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million units in 2014, Gartner stated, with the decline in sales to be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, other wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches.
In 2016, however, Gartner has forecast the market for smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will rebound as a result of versatile designs and models with lower-cost displays.
“Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analysed using cognisant computing to provide useful insights to wearers,” commented Angela McIntyre, Gartner research director.
“Funding initiatives from Qualcomm, Apple (HealthKit), Google (Google Fit), Samsung (S.A.M.I.), Microsoft, Nike 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 further noted that smartwatches with retail prices of $149 or more will “typically have the capability to track activity and have accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to their smart wristband cousins”.
“The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication,” McIntyre stated.
“However, some smart wristbands have the ability to display and send text messages. The overlap in functionality between smart wristbands and smartwatches is expected to continue.”
Gartner additionally stated it believes the smart garment product category has the greatest potential for growth going forward, stating the category “is emerging from the testing phase and smart shirts are available to athletes and coaches of professional teams”.
Smart garment shipments are forecast to grow from 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016.
Gartner has further predicted that in 2018 through 2020, 25 per cent of smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will be sold through non-retail channels such as gyms, wellness providers, insurance providers, weight loss clinics and employers, sometimes at subsidised prices or for free.
The new channels will also result from fitness monitors being integrated into employee badges or identification bracelets for access control, Gartner stated, adding it expects business-to-consumer companies will have rewards or gamification linked to the use of wearables as a way of keeping customers engaged with their brands.