U.S. Wearable Tech Market Could Start to Flatline, Not Too Impressive Now

wearables, wearable tech

Wearables were all the rage when the first smart watches made their appearance a few years ago. It gave rise to numerous companies that grew on the back of rising demand for wearable technology.

But the taste for wearable tech seems to have worn off early. A study by Forbes back in 2014 when smart wearables like Android Wear and Apple Watch were just making their appearance showed that 71% of youngsters (16- to 24-year-olds) wanted to own wearable technology products. Barely a year later, another survey in the UK showed that nearly half (46%) of 1000 survey respondents said that it was “just a fad.”

This year the news is more alarming because it’s not just based on studies or surveys.

A new report by eMarketer shows that they have revised their estimates of wearable tech product users in the United States downwards, and by a significant amount.

Last year, the market research firm expected growth in wearable tech in the U.S. to grow by 60% in 2016. They have now revised that to 24.7%. Apparently, “smart watches in particular have failed to impress consumers.”

The earlier forecast was that 63.7 million adults will be wearing some sort of connected device at least once a month. That forecast now stands at 39.5 million.

Wearables have penetrated 15.8% of the U.S. market as of this year. By 2020, it will only go up to 21.1%, says the report.


And this seems to be the gist of the problem, according to eMarketer analyst Cathy Boyle:

“Before Apple launched its Watch, fitness trackers dominated the wearables space, and consumer surveys consistently found that tracking health and fitness was the main reason people were interested in wearables. They also reported high price-sensitivity. Without a clear use case for smart watches—which have more features than fitness trackers, but significant overlap with smartphone functionality—the more sophisticated, expensive devices have not caught on as quickly as expected.”

So, it would seem that, despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s optimism about Apple Watch this holiday season, neither Apple Watch nor any of the other smart watches on the market seem to have a great future ahead of them.

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