Will the activity trackers of today set the stage for the smart watches of tomorrow, or will they preclude the need for smart watches?
Wearable smart bands, like the Nike Fuel, Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up, and others, have become incredibly popular during the past year. People from all walks of life wear these fitness trackers now and their popularity continues to grow at exponential rates. Much of this growth is very recent. In the first half of 2013 roughly 200,000 of these wearable smart bands were shipped. In the second half of 2013, that number skyrocketed to 1.6 million. Shipments could reach as high as 8 million bands in 2014 and over 23 million in 2015.
Although these numbers are still quite small compared to the total number of wristwatches shipped, the rate of growth is spectacular. Experts think that there’s a reason why wearable activity trackers have exploded in popularity, while smart watches continue to languish.
Smart Sports Bands Increasing Popularity
The current crop of wearable activity trackers meets a definite need. With today’s increased focus on health and fitness, people want to know how their daily activities impact their fitness goals. These inexpensive fitness trackers meet this need, by providing accurate and timely data about the distance we move, the calories we burn, and even our sleep patterns.
They are also very simple to use and tend to have great battery life compared to typical smart watches. High cost, limited battery life and the lack of useful software have been the primary concerns of early smart watch adopters. The fact that most of the currently available smart watches aren’t stand-alone devices and require a Bluetooth connected smartphone to take advantage of their “smart” features has hindered widespread adoption as well.
Simple, inexpensive wearable activity trackers have none of these drawbacks. The internal batteries in these devices can remain charged for up to ten days. Since smart sports bands are designed for a specific purpose, they are very easy to use. Interestingly, fitness bands are not at all fashion accessories but are used as tools that helps the wearer stay fit and healthy.
Are Smart Sports Bands Here to Stay?
The market for wearable activity trackers is expected to continue its rapid growth in response to society’s increased focus on fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The real question is whether the next generation of smart watches, including the inevitable iWatch from Apple, will usurp the simple fitness tracker by incorporating a similar set of features.
The jury is still out on this. Clearly, smart watches of the future will be able to track the wearer’s activities just as well as or even better than current smart bands like the Nike Fuel, Fitbit Flex, or Jawbone Up. What’s unclear at this time is whether people will be willing to pay more for the more complex smart watch.
The runaway success of today’s activity trackers has already proved that wearable technology is here to stay. It is expected that there will be one day a strong market for smart watches as well.
How popular will powerful new smart watches from Pebble, Apple, Sony, and Samsung become? That depends on whether people perceive them as a tool like an activity tracker, or a fashion accessory like a traditional wristwatch. If the general public ever decides that wearing a smart watch is cool, the market for these advanced devices will be almost unlimited.
About Gevril Group
Watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor Gevril Group is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury, Swiss and fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.
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