Fitness Tracker Abandonment Rate: 30%; Smartwatch, 29%

Many consumers are likely to be surprised finding a fitness tracker or smartwatch under the tree at Christmas this year.

But Santa may get a bit bummed later as almost a third of those happy gift recipients ultimately will relegate that wearable device to a bureau drawer, never to see the light of battery recharging again.

Almost a third (30%) of the fitness trackers consumers buy or receive as gifts ultimately are abandoned, according to a new study. It’s not any better for smartwatches, with 29% of them also ultimately abandoned.

The study comprised a survey of 9,600 online consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, conducted by Gartner.

The reason people abandon their smart device is because people do not find them useful, they get bored or they break, according to the study.

Kind of the good news in all of this is that fitness trackers are only in the early mainstream at 19% of consumers and smartwatches are even earlier than that at 10%. Lagging behind both of those is virtual reality, with only 8% of consumers having used VR head-mount displays, which excluded cardboard types.

While most people typically buy fitness trackers and smartwatches for themselves, more than a third (34%) of fitness trackers and a quarter (26%) of smartwatches are given as gifts.

Consistent with other studies, the Gartner survey found that consumers see wearables as being priced too high, given their perceived usefulness.

For fitness trackers, U.S. consumers lead usage at 23% followed by Australia at 19% and the U.K. at 15%.

The leading smartwatch country is the U.S. at 12%, while the U.K is at 9% and Australia at 7%.

Many of those who stick with their wearable tend to use them a lot.

More than half (58%) of people who use a smartwatch use it every day and of those who don’t (33%) use it at least several times a week.

In yet another negative, fitness trackers and smartwatches are not appealing to consumers from the standpoint of design.

Fitness trackers were considered unappealing devices by 29% of consumers in the three regions and people younger than 45 tend to think a smartphone can do everything they need.

Even though many abandon wearables, many who have them stick with them.

More fitness trackers will be sold as replacement devices rather than first-time purchases from now until the middle of next year, according to Gartner.

Wearables do have a core constituency. Manufacturers and marketers just need to increase its size over time.

4 comments about "Fitness Tracker Abandonment Rate: 30%; Smartwatch, 29%".
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  1. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , December 9, 2016 at 10:04 a.m.

    finding their way to the Christmas Fitness Memberships in February .
    FAD actually is an accronym for

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 9, 2016 at 10:10 a.m.

    Good one, Mark.

  3. Mark Westlake from GearBrain, December 9, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    This is not surprising.  All these new connected devices or wearables are not for everyone.  IoT is about conectivity and how it can help or improve your lifestyle.  some people don't want help, especially when it comes to these type of devices.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 9, 2016 at 10:40 a.m.

    Exactly, Mark. Additionally, some may not like the regular re-charging process or filing warranty claims when a fitness tracker breaks (the warranties typically are pretty good).

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