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Consumer Interest in Purchasing Wearable Fitness Devices in 2014 Quadruples, According to CEA Study

Consumer interest in purchasing dedicated wearable fitness devices in the next 12 months quadrupled to 13 percent in 2013, from just three percent in 2012, making it the largest year-over-year increase for any category of fitness device, according to new research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The results from the study, Understanding the Market for Wearable Health and Fitness Devices, were announced on Monday at a mHealth Summit session featuring panelists from CEA, Qualcomm Life, Fitbit and Symphony Health.

Dedicated Wearable Fitness Devices

Dedicated wearable fitness devices also tripled in ownership from 2012 (three percent) to 2013 (nine percent). These devices experienced the largest gain in purchase intent (10 percentage points) compared to 2012, more than quadrupling from three percent in 2012.

The top three reasons people gave for using their wearable fitness devices include motivation (52 percent), monitoring fitness goal progress (47 percent) and monitoring physical activity levels or intensity (46 percent). Owners of dedicated wearable fitness devices and sleep trackers are most likely to use their products on a daily basis (47 percent) compared to other fitness technology products.

Overall Fitness Technology Product Ownership and Purchase Intent

Three quarters of online U.S. consumers (75 percent) now say they own a fitness technology product, up from 61 percent in 2012. Pedometers remain the most popular fitness technology owned by consumers (37 percent), followed by fitness video games (26 percent) and portable blood pressure monitors (21 percent). There were no declines in consumer ownership of any tracked category of fitness technology products this year.

“CEA projects that the market for dedicated wearable fitness devices like body monitors and pedometers will continue to expand for the foreseeable future as more consumers become aware of these devices and an array of new products enter the market,” said Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, CEA.

Looking ahead, among consumers who indicate they plan to purchase a fitness technology product within the next year, the most desired products are dedicated wearable fitness devices, fitness apps, fitness video games and calories trackers, all at 13 percent. Potential buyers of fitness technology devices expressed the most interest in capabilities such as tracking statistics like heart rate (95 percent), calories burned (94 percent) and steps taken (92 percent).

Smart Watches

According to results from Understanding the Market for Wearable Health and Fitness Devices, smart watches offer many desirable capabilities in the eyes of consumers, but some question the need to purchase one. Nine percent of online U.S. adults indicate they plan to purchase a smart watch in the next 12 months. Yet, based on qualitative results from the study, the device was perceived as a high-end selection and not everyone who exercises feels a need for this level of complexity.

Interestingly, the most important features found in a smart watch among potential buyers were fitness-focused, including health monitoring (91 percent), peak performance monitoring (90 percent) and providing workout routines (82 percent).

Fitness Technology Market

CEA’s U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast projects strong growth in the fitness and activity tracking devices market with U.S. shipment revenues estimated to reach $854 million in 2013, an increase of 32 percent over last year. Additionally, CEA projects revenue to surpass $1 billion in 2014, a 37 percent increase over 2013.

“Fitness technology owners indicate they are seeing personal progress in their overall health and/or on specific goals, such as losing weight or lowering blood pressure, using their devices as much or even more than they originally expected,” said Tillmann. “Not only are these fitness technology products catching on in the marketplace and experiencing strong growth in sales, consumers indicate they are experiencing positive results as well.”

CEA’s Understanding the Market for Wearable Health and Fitness Devices presents the findings of both a quantitative Internet survey conducted among an online national sample of 1,006 U.S. adults, ages 18 and over, and qualitative one-on-one interviews conducted among 41 targeted online consumers. The report was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at members.CE.org. Non-members may purchase the report at store.ce.org.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the$203 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media.


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