Over the last several years, fitness wearables have been everywhere. It seemed like Fitbits were the electronic equivalent of Facebook. Even many insurance companies started requiring members to have a fitness tracker for better rates. However, is the trend still growing or has it run its course?
Fitness Wearables Don’t Make You Fit
While enthusiasts may disagree, having the latest and greatest fitness watch doesn’t automatically make you healthier or more fit. This is where a major problem starts. As this CNET commentary points out, you still have to put in the work. The writer, Daniel Van Boom, compares fitness wearables to buying a gym membership. You still have to do the heavy lifting to get any real benefit.
Granted, having a fitness tracker and app constantly pushing you to exercise might be just what you need to stay on track. However, if you don’t want to go for a run or burn 500 calories with a Zoomba class, you’ll probably just toss your wearable into a drawer and take a nap instead.
A Look Into Buying Trends
Despite that hiccup, people actually still love fitness wearables. Worldwide sales of all wearables have increased 16.9% year over year. In fact, overall shipments increased by 25% in 2016.
The same IDC report found that fitness related wearables are the most popular type of wearable on the market. This is why many vendors are incorporating fitness and health related features into their smartwatches.
Right now, the trend is towards more multi-function style fitness wearables. People still aren’t thrilled with having their wearable tethered to a smartphone. The solution is to create the ultimate wearable that is a complete standalone device.
Even though IDC expects the wearable market to nearly double to 240.1 million units shipped versus 104.3 million units, these wearables till have a few hurdles.
Apps Are Crucial
Could you imagine your smartphone without apps? There’s a reason iOS and Android devices far outpace the competition – extensive app stores. After all, who would want a smartphone that doesn’t have the latest and best apps?
The same holds true with wearables. Consumers want to do more with a fitness tracker than just count steps or measure how many calories they’re burning. They want their device to be an all-in-one fitness and health monitoring and management tool.
Fitbit, Samsung, and Garmin even created their own dedicated operating systems to provide a more targeted experience for users. Instead of a bunch of apps in all categories, apps for these systems all focus on what’s most important to the target user – fitness and health.
While upgraded features are important and will help the market grow, apps are a driving factor. When it comes to the point that most fitness wearables are roughly the same, it’s the quality and usefulness of the apps that set them apart.
Fashion Drives the Industry
At some point, consumers decided they didn’t want a clunky watch or other wearable on their person. Instead, they wanted to better manage their health and fitness with accessories that matched their unique personality.
While users do want multi-purpose smartwatches versus just fitness trackers, they also want fashionable accessories. Fashion brands, such as Fossil, are making fitness wearables look fresh, which is further driving the industry.
Fitness wearables haven’t run their course. They’re just evolving to meet growing needs and demand.
Related Read: How to Make the Most of Your New Activity Tracker
Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.