Home » gartner

Survey Analysis: Wearable Devices need to be More Useful (Gartner)

By |January 23rd, 2017|REPORTS & ANALYSIS, Surveys & Articles, Wearables Market Research|

High Abandonment Rates Indicate the Need for More Compelling Value Propositions to Drive Greater Adoption

The abandonment rate of smartwatches is 29 percent, and 30 percent for fitness trackers, because people do not find them useful, they get bored of them or they break, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

“Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. “The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.” 

The 2016 Gartner Personal Technologies Study surveyed 9,592 online respondents from Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. between June and August 2016, to gain a better understanding of consumers’ attitudes toward wearables, particularly their buying behavior for smartwatches, fitness trackers and virtual reality (VR) glasses.

According to the survey, smartwatch adoption is still in the early adopter stage (10 percent), while fitness trackers have reached early mainstream (19 percent). Only 8 percent of consumers have used VR glasses/head-mounted displays (excluding cardboard types).

The survey found that people typically purchase smartwatches and fitness trackers for their own use, with 34 percent of fitness trackers and 26 percent of smartwatches given as gifts.

“Continued growth in the adoption of smartwatches and fitness trackers will now be from mainstream consumers instead of early technology adopters,” said Ms. McIntyre. “The greatest hurdle for fitness tracker and smartwatch providers to overcome is the consumer perception that the devices do not offer a compelling enough value proposition.”

Survey respondents indicated that wearable devices are priced too high, given their perceived usefulness. Gartner believes that wearable providers that do not have a strong brand name will find it more difficult to grow market share, competing directly with popular brands. Instead, they should accept lower margins and provide an alternative that is priced significantly lower than top brands, but still has good quality for price-sensitive consumers.

The survey also revealed that the designs of smartwatches and fitness trackers are not appealing to consumers. To overcome this concern, Gartner recommends wearable providers partner with companies that design, brand, market and distribute watches and fashion accessories because they have experience setting style trends, marketing lifestyle devices and have established retail channels.

Smartwatches still for early tech adopters

According to the survey, the U.S. is leading smartwatch usage at 12 percent, while the U.K. is at 9 percent and Australia at 7 percent. Usage is up from Gartner’s 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 8 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 5 percent in the U.K. used smartwatches.

Smartwatch usage is clearly higher among people 44 years old and younger. More than half of people who use a smartwatch (58 percent) use it every day, and those who don’t (33 percent) use it at least several times a week.

“The key to creating a value proposition to interest mainstream consumers is lifestyle messages around health tracking and the convenience of receiving alerts on the wrist, instead of via the phone,” said Ms. McIntyre. “The benefit will increase as these devices gain the capability to function more independently from the phone.”

Fitness trackers reach early mainstream

The survey also showed that the U.S. is leading fitness tracker usage at 23 percent, while the U.K. is at 15 percent and Australia at 19 percent. Usage has increased from the Gartner 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 17 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 10 percent in the U.K. used fitness trackers. Most people with a fitness tracker wear it every day. For those who do not, 26 percent wear their fitness tracker at least several times each week.

According to 29 percent of survey respondents, fitness trackers are unappealing devices. They said they would not wear them or that the designs are neither fashionable nor attractive. “Fitness tracker cases and wristbands designed by fashion brands are sold as higher-priced upgrades, which may be a barrier to purchase,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Younger people less than 45 years old tended to think a smartphone can do everything they need. People at least 45 years old state that they do not plan to purchase a fitness tracker because they are too expensive for the value.

“More fitness trackers will be sold as replacement devices rather than first-time purchases from now until the middle of 2017,” said Ms. Kitagawa. “It’s important for providers to market lower-priced fitness trackers to the older user segments, especially to older women.”

Gartner clients can read more in the report: “User Survey Analysis: Wearables Need to Be More Useful.”

Fitness Wearables Will Bounce Back From Smartwatch Threat, Says Gartner

By |January 16th, 2015|Fitness Bands, RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT|

What’s the short term trajectory for fitness wearables? DOWN.

    Analyst Gartner is projecting a dip in overall shipments next year, owing to overlapping functionality between different types of fitness wearables and because smartwatches are eating into their functionality (while also offering more in the way of communications features).

But the analyst expects the fitness wearables category to bounce back in 2016 because of better, more versatile designs and lower cost displays. In other words, fitness devices are going to up their game.

In a global forecast on fitness wearables, the analyst projects shipments will reach 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million in 2014, as a larger proportion of buyers opt for smartwatches instead (it estimates that half of people considering buying a smart wristband will purchase a smartwatch instead next year — which is, of course, when Apple is expected to launch into the space). But by 2016 it sees shipments bouncing back — to total 91.3 million units.

Gartner segments the fitness wearables category into five main form factors: smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps, and smart garments.

While smart wristbands and other fitness monitors are currently the most popular form factors, the analyst identifies the latter emergent category as having the “greatest potential for growth” being as it’s emerging from the testing phase.

It’s projecting shipments here will grow from practically nothing (0.1 million units) in 2014, to 26 million in 2016.

Gartner adds that it expects continued overlap in functionality between smart wrist bands and smartwatches, but sees fitness bands and other fitness monitors carving out a non-retail niche in the future — by being increasingly offered by gyms, wellness providers, insurance providers, weight loss clinics and employers, sometimes at subsidized prices or for free.

It said it expects a quarter of these fitness devices to be sold through non-retail channels between 2018 and 2020.

These companies will serve as a growing distribution channel for device manufactur

ers,” it adds.

“The new channels also result from fitness monitors being integrated into employee badges or identification bracelets for access control. 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.”

A key driver for fitness wearables to continue to proliferate, according to Gartner, are the big funding initiatives from the likes of Apple (HealthKit), Google (Google Fit), Samsung (S.A.M.I.), and others, which will allow consumers to integrate data from multiple wearables into a single account where it can be analyzed and yield useful insights for the wearer.

 TCWearablesHealthGadgets

Gartner in 2015, 50 Percent People to Pass-Up Smart Wristband for a SmartWatch Instead

By |December 5th, 2014|Charts & Graphs, Consumer Wearables, Forecasts (In-Depth), Outside Sources*, Sample Reports|

Wearable Electronic Fitness Devices Market Still Poised for Strong Growth

Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to reach 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million units in 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.

This temporary dip in sales will be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, other wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches. However, the market for smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will rebound in 2016 because of versatile designs and models with lower-cost displays.

“Fitness wearables are used for tracking health, which goes hand-in-hand with fitness and wellness,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner

“Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analyzed using cognizant computing to provide useful insights to wearers.

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.”

The five main fitness wearable form factors are

  1. smart wristbands,
  2. sports watches,
  3. other fitness monitors,
  4. heart rate monitor chest straps
  5. smart garments.

Sports watches and chest straps are well established, compared with smart wristbands first popularized by the Jawbone Up, which launched in 2011. However, Gartner believes that the smart garment product category has the greatest potential for growth going forward because 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 (see Table 1).

– Table 1 —
Worldwide Wearable Electronic Fitness Devices Shipments Forecast, 2013-2016

Gartner Says in 2015

Source: Gartner (October 2014)

For the present, however, smart wristbands and other fitness monitors are the most popular form factors.

“Smartwatches having 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,”

said Ms. McIntyre. “The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication. 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 further predicts that in 2018 through 2020, 25 percent of smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will be sold through nonretail channels.During this time scale, smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will be offered increasingly by gyms, wellness providers, insurance providers, weight loss clinics or employers, sometimes at subsidized prices or for free.
These companies will serve as a growing distribution channel for device manufacturers. The new channels also result from fitness monitors being integrated into employee badges or identification bracelets for access control.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies will have rewards or gamification linked to the use of wearables as a way of keeping customers engaged with their brands.

More detailed analysis is available in the report Forecast: Wearable Electronic Devices for Fitness, Worldwide, 2014.
The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2882518.