Fitness wearables are poised to remain the primary wearable device ahead of smartwatches for the next three years, according to new Juniper Research data.However, this will change by the end of 2019, with Juniper forecasting that fitness wearables will be used by approximately 110 million people worldwide, while smartwatches will have more than 130 million users.
The new research observes that the lines between the categories are starting to blur, with fitness wearables offering a range of call-handling and notification functions that can also be found in smartwatches.
App-enabled fitness trackers, such as the Samsung Gear Fit and Microsoft Band, lessen the distinction even further, Juniper notes.
The role of monetary incentives in driving future device adoption is also highlighted by the research, which emphasises an increasing role in corporate wellness schemes.
“This is even more expressly the case in the professional sports world, where wearables are becoming part of the training regimes of many teams and form the majority of the market for clothes with integral fitness tracking,” Juniper states.
“Over time, Juniper expect that wearables-measured performance will become a standard part of hiring practices and potentially also players’ contractual obligations.”
While future electronic healthcare records will drive the use of dedicated wearables, the research notes that the price of the devices and smartphone dependence will impede them from full adoption by universal healthcare systems.
“The use of wearables to track health shows promise, but such devices will not reach their full potential until they can become less dependent on mobile devices to relay their information, in addition to meeting healthcare data storage and relay requirements,” research author James Moar commented.