The Honest Truth About The Rise Of Fitness Trackers

By Frederique Bros
on 13 December 2015

The fitness wearables sector will generate over $10bn in hardware revenues by 2020, up from an estimated $3.3bn this year. This tripling effect will be largely driven by the sales of wrist-based trackers, while hundreds of thousands of connected garments used by professional sports teams showcase wearable technology’s most advanced capabilities.

The Honest Truth About The Rise Of Fitness Trackers

Already used in training to monitor performance, smart clothing will also become an important part of watching sports in the future, with leagues like the NFL partnering with Microsoft and Zebra Technologies to produce live visualisations of data and new ways for fans to understand each game.

The new research, Smart Wearable Devices: Worldwide Consumer & Enterprise Markets 2015-2020, also found that devices offering more advanced fitness tracking capabilities, such as heart-rate tracking and blood-oxygen saturation levels, are becoming more popular. However, Juniper’s market analysis shows that they also need capable apps to make sense of these advanced metrics, otherwise, vendors risk drowning consumers in data.

More Performance Data = More Pressure

With the ability to track wearers during every part of their day, much closer scrutiny of players is possible.

‘Without clear boundaries for data ownership and use, biometrics could become part of sports players’ contracts, and even dictate initial hiring practices through predictive analytics,’ noted research author James Moar. ‘While wearables companies involved in corporate wellness have been very careful to ensure employers can only see aggregate data and that workers can opt-out, pro sports have no such safeguards.’

Fashion and Function Collide

A recent Juniper Research Consumer Wearables Market Survey noted that fitness devices are the most popular wearables, with over 70% of those considering buying a wearable wanting a fitness device. Watch brands like TAG Heuer and Breitling have launched smartwatches, but these luxury devices will not drive up adoption among most consumers, who understand the function of fitness wearables better.

Despite fitness’ current popularity, the increasing range of feature-rich smartwatches means that they will be more popular by 2019.

Source: Juniper Research

Image Credit: Samsung Gear 2

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