Study: 12 percent of US consumers own a fitness band or smartwatch

By Aditi Pai
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As of March, 12 percent of US consumers own a fitness band or a smartwatch of some kind, according to a Kantar Wearable Technology report. The majority of them, about 75 percent, own a fitness band.

Kantar's market data is pulled from a combination of consumer purchase tracking and ongoing surveys.

“For both smartwatch and fitness band buyers – brand, ease of use, and functionality are the top drivers of purchase, outweighing both design and cost,” Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Wearable Tech Analyst Shannon Conway said in a  statement. “Fitbit established itself as an early market leader, capturing 61.7 percent of the US installed base by communicating a clear and simple value proposition to consumers. Apple accounts for 6.8 percent of the total number of fitness band and smartwatch owners in the US.”

US consumer adoption of fitness wearables and smartwatches is almost double adoption in Europe. Kantar found that just 6.6 percent of users in England, Germany, France and Italy own a smartwatch or fitness band. Within this group, some 18.5 percent consumers own Fitbit devices, followed by 14 percent who own Apple devices and 11.6 percent who own Samsung device.

The makeup of devices in England is similar to the US — some 53 percent of consumers have fitness tracking devices while just 45 percent have smartwatches. Kantar also found that, in the US, 43 percent of less expensive fitness bands and 33 percent of cheaper smartwatches were gifted to the user.

“Our first smartwatch data set reflects a relatively low level of market penetration – not unexpected for what is still a young category,” Conway said. “In our next quarterly wearables report in August, we’ll be adding a number of data elements, including how non-owners of smartwatches responded to questions about whether they intend to purchase one of these devices in the future. We expect that this will give us some interesting indications about where the wearables market is headed.”