Fitness Trackers Rule Over Smartwatches; Fitbit Dominates

Chances are that of consumers who have a wearable device on their wrist, that device is a fitness tracker.

Despite all the publicity, hype and glamour around smartwatches, three out of four wrist wearable devices in the U.S. are fitness bands, based on a new wearable tracking study.

More than one in 10 (12%) of consumers in the U.S. own either a fitness band or smartwatch, according to the new Kantar Worldwide ComTech Wearable report.

That’s nearly double the penetration of four major European markets (Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy) in the study.

Fitbit dominates the market, with 62% of the U.S. installed base, which is consistent with other research.

Apple accounts for 7% of the total number of wrist wearable owners.

Not all devices are bought by the person who wears them.

For example, 43% of fitness trackers were gifts, as were a third (33%) of smartwatches.

However, while consumers may not be drawn to jumping into the smartwatch game so they can have the latest technology on their wrist, many seem to be OK with moving to a smartwatch when it’s time for a new timepiece.

Almost a third (32%) of all smartwatches and 43% of Apple Watches take the place of a traditional watch, when the time comes.

Interestingly, consumers in the U.S. and Europe seem to differ on approach.

In the U.S., smartwatches account for 23% of wrist wearables compared to 55% in the four European countries.

The closest wearable market penetration to the U.S. is Australia at 13%, and one of the lowest penetration markets is Japan, at 4%.

A different study recently pegged the fitness tracker market at reaching 20% of U.S. households, as I wrote about here at the time (20% Have Wearables, 15% More Plan To Get One).

Whether the fitness trackers are making the masses more fit is anyone’s guess. But at the very least, consumers wearing them know their personal situation, an early behavioral indicator in the Internet of Things.

In the aggregate, that information provides marketers with a wealth of new information and behavioral insights.

The early IoT phase is to outfit millions of people with devices that self-monitor and create personal benchmarks.

The next stage will be for marketers to analyze that data so consumers can be better served by more targeted, relevant and contextual messaging.

And that new data feed will impact messaging across all media.

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