Among today’s wearable devices, fitness trackers are still the undisputed best sellers, but smartwatch devices are beginning to catch on. According to market research firm NPD, activity trackers are still more widely used compared to smartwatches across most categories related to fitness, especially among owners of wearable devices who work out. NPD’s data also shows that those who use fitness trackers are generally more active -- 79 percent of fitness tracker owners exercise on a regular basis, while 66 percent of smartwatch owners hit the gym. NPD collected its information by way of a number of surveys conducted in April of this year with 5,400 participating consumers based in the United States.
Still, despite the dominance of fitness trackers, smartwatch devices are starting to gain some traction. Interestingly, people who like to go out on a jog have become the first consumer segment to display an improved use of smartwatches compared to fitness trackers. As put forth by NPD, 22 percent of smartwatch owners run regularly, while 21 percent of fitness tracker owners do the same.
Popularity is generally equated with perceived usefulness, and as more and more people appreciate the value of owning a wearable device, sales of fitness trackers and smartwatch devices will accordingly pick up. Right now, companies that manufacture activity trackers, such as Fitbit and Garmin, naturally enjoy better sales than those that build smartwatches. But smartwatches are increasingly becoming more popular in their own right, and quite notably, are improving their sales figures without cutting into the sales of fitness trackers. In other words, both can grow healthily, sales wise, without hurting each other’s chances.
Fitness trackers became a hit because of their simplicity -- users see them as helpful gadgets for monitoring health and fitness related data. However, smartwatches are embracing fitness related features too, and for sure, some of those who own fitness trackers may start to see smartwatch devices as equally useful gadgets when working out.
Per NPD’s information, smartwatches are beginning to shift from early adopter gadgets to more mainstream products, and are taking fitness related activities with them. NPD surveyed users of wearable devices how they viewed health and fitness -- 17 percent of smartwatch owners considered it a passion, while 13 percent of fitness tracker owners thought the same. Still, people are still buying activity trackers. NPD asked users who work out multiple times a week, and found that 47 percent of them have plans to purchase a fitness tracker soon.
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