Report: Consumers want smartwatches, but value fitness tracking features

By Jonah Comstock
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Argus InsightsIn advance of the start of the holiday shopping season, Argus Insights has released a report on consumer perception and demand for wearables, based on the research firm's analysis of 6,000 global reviews and social media conversations. As expected, Apple Watch tops the demand for consumer smartwatches, but surprisingly Fitbit didn't top the dedicated fitness tracker category -- it came in second after the Lumo Lift.

"The up and coming Lumo Lift Posture and Activity Tracker is winning over fitness tracker and band consumers with their instantly actionable posture-correcting device," Argus writes in the report. "It is no surprise to see several Fitbit devices rounding out the top 10 devices, but the presence of a heart rate monitor is crucial in producing delight, placing the Charge HR and Jawbone Up4 with HR above the more oft reviewed basic Charge. While users are praising devices from Fitbit, Microsoft, Samsung, Garmin, Jawbone and Withings, devices from major players like Misfit and Xioami are failing to win over consumers."

Argus has no financial relationship with any of the companies in the report, the company assured MobiHealthNews in an email. The report doesn't necessarily reflect which wearable has the most sales or even the most reviews, but the "level of delight" presented in the reviews that do exist.

The report showed that consumers were generally more excited about smartwatches than dedicated fitness trackers, yet the most exciting features of smartwatches were fitness tracking features, as opposed to call or text notifications. Additionally, Argus found that would-be smartwatch buyers weren't as concerned about budget as they were about features.

“After a slower than expected start, Apple Watch has tremendous momentum moving into the 2015 holiday season, topping our analysis of consumer preferences,” Argus CEO John Feland said in a statement. "Android Wear enabled devices have a strong showing, but Samsung’s absence from the top ten shows Samsung is still searching for what consumers are looking for. Even the new S2, Samsung’s first round faced wearable lost out to the older Moto 360 and LG G Urbane."

Heart rate monitoring was the most sought after feature for both smartwatches and fitness trackers, Argus found. Battery life, apps, and step tracking were other highly rated features.

Argus Insights reports on the wearable space have challenged Fitbit's lead a few times in the past. In May, an Argus report suggested the company was leading the fitness tracker market but losing marketshare to smartwatches. And in August, the firm reported slowing demand for dedicated fitness wearables in general.