A new report by Juniper Research has found that use of fitness wearables will almost treble by 2018, compared to an estimated 19 million in-use devices this year, although they will be overshadowed by smartwatches in the long run.
The report expects fitness to remain the dominant wearables segment until 2018, partly as a result of lower retail prices, but predicts that smartwatches will eventually take over the market because they have a broader appeal.
Although advanced fitness devices like the MetaWatch M1 and Martian Notifier will compete with smartwatches, “aesthetically-minded” consumers will prefer the latter, as they tend to prioritise function over looks.
Within the fitness realm, the study claims Fitbit will remain the leading player for fitness tracking, although its decision to not integrate with Apple Health may harm its market share in the short term.
The report also anticipates that sales of healthcare-focused wearable devices will increase, from wearable electrocardiograms to glucose monitors and insulin pumps.
Wearable devices vary based on who the makers are trying to target. Start-up GOQii is pioneering a new service-based business model, offering contact with fitness coaches alongside their device, which appears to be aimed at serious gym-goers. This is similar to the Gymwatch, which offers real-time verbal and visual feedback to help users perform exercises properly.
On the other hand, BURG has launched a “fashionable” smartwatch for $199 that functions as a standalone phone but can also be paired with iPhones and Android phones through Bluetooth technology.
A study by Gartner also suggests that smartwatches will overtake fitness wearables, although it predicts this could happen as early as next year.