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Wearable Technology - US - December 2017

"The year 2017 was a disappointing year for wearable tech. Marquee brands have seen unfortunate reversals of fortune, including declines at Fitbit, GoPro, and Garmin. However, on the basis of burgeoning sales of smartwatches, hearables, and high-end fitness bands with LED (light-emitting diode) screens, Mintel sees shipments returning to growth in 2019. Against this backdrop, Mintel explores the market for fitness-related tech, as well as the emerging category of VR (virtual reality) headsets. Subjects include current ownership and interest in products, gifting, historical upgrading, intent to upgrade, features sought from wearables, and desired activities in VR."
- Billy Hulkower, Senior Technology Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Wearable tech not for everyone 
  • Heavy competition from other tech spheres
  • Falling sales at specialists place bottom lines in the red

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Wearable tech not for everyone
            • Figure 1: Ownership and intent to purchase, October 2017
          • Heavy competition from other tech spheres
            • Figure 2: Sales of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and televisions, 2013-17
          • Falling sales at specialists place bottom lines in the red
            • Figure 3: Brands under consideration for wearable tech purchases, October 2017
          • The opportunities
            • Upgrades
              • Figure 4: Historical upgrades and intent to upgrade, October 2017
            • The gift market
              • Figure 5: Intent to gift wearable tech, October 2017
            • Leaving the phone at home
              • Figure 6: Features sought in tracking devices, October 2017
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Collapse of bands and clips curbs growth in 2017
                • Poor year ahead, bright decade to follow
                  • Sports drives, sleep lags
                    • Half of tech sales up for grabs
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Decline in basic trackers hampers unit sales
                        • Average selling price rising
                          • Bright decade ahead
                            • Figure 7: US manufacturer shipments of wearable tech, 2011-17
                        • Market Breakdown

                          • Fitness dominant
                            • Drones to clip wings of wearable cameras
                              • Price drops combine with improvements in VR/AR
                                • Growth in hearables and smartwatches
                                  • Figure 8: US manufacturer shipments of wearable tech, by segment, 2011-17
                              • Market Perspective

                                • Households spending $2,000 annually on tech hardware
                                  • Figure 9: Sales of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and televisions, 2013-17
                                • Competition for gift purchases
                                  • Figure 10: Intent to gift technology, wearable products vs personal products, October 2017
                              • Market Factors

                                • Sports participation
                                  • Figure 11: Sports participation and fitness tracker ownership by sport played, September 2016
                                • Tracking sleep
                                  • Figure 12: Sleep self-assessment, by generation, December 2016
                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                • New products stimulating specialists
                                  • Apple Watch reigns
                                    • Transformative experiences
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Halo surrounds smartphone leaders
                                          • Figure 13: Top brands under consideration for wearable tech purchases, October 2017
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • Marquee brands see sales decline
                                          • Figure 14: Second tier of brands under consideration for wearable tech purchases, October 2017
                                        • Fitbit’s terrible, no good, very bad year
                                          • Fitbit turnaround via the Ionic, Flyer
                                            • GoPro in turnaround with Hero6, Karma, Fusion
                                              • Figure 15: Global sales of Fitbit, GoPro, and Garmin fitness division, 2012-17
                                          • What’s Next?

                                            • AR glasses
                                              • NFC
                                                • Language translation
                                                  • Blood glucose monitoring
                                                    • Figure 16: Interest in tracking blood glucose levels, by race and Hispanic origin, October 2017
                                                    • Figure 17: Interest in tracking blood glucose levels, by age, October 2017
                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                  • No more than 52% interested in any category
                                                    • Smartwatch, Fitbit owners plan to upgrade
                                                      • Ringing in the holidays with an Apple Watch
                                                        • Calling is second most-desired feature in trackers
                                                          • Diverse array of VR experiences sought
                                                          • Ownership and Interest

                                                            • Bands/clips suffer as ownership meets interest
                                                              • Terminal penetration for fitness bands/clips expected at 39%
                                                                  • Figure 18: Ownership and interest in ownership, October 2017
                                                                • Young men top mark for personal purchasing of wearables
                                                                  • Figure 19: Number of wearable tech products owned and desired, by gender and age, October 2017
                                                                • Wishing dad a Happy Father’s Day
                                                                  • Figure 20: Number of products owned and desired, by parental status, October 2017
                                                                • Hispanics favor wearable tech
                                                                  • Figure 21: Number of products owned and desired, by race and Hispanic origin, October 2017
                                                              • Upgrading

                                                                • Upgrades/replacements are 40% of tracker sales
                                                                  • Figure 22: Historical upgrades and intent to upgrade, October 2017
                                                                • Former upgraders ready to buy again
                                                                  • Fitbit and Apple owners show brand loyalty with intent to upgrade
                                                                    • Men more active upgraders
                                                                      • Figure 23: Historical upgrades and intent to upgrade, by gender, October 2017
                                                                    • Keeping 18-34s top of mind
                                                                      • Figure 24: Historical upgrades and intent to upgrade fitness trackers, by age, October 2017
                                                                      • Figure 25: Historical upgrades and intent to upgrade smartwatches and wearable cameras, by age, October 2017
                                                                  • Gifting

                                                                    • One quarter plan to gift wearable in next year
                                                                      • Apple Watch a top wearable gift
                                                                        • Figure 26: Intent to gift wearable tech, October 2017
                                                                      • Hispanics ready to gift
                                                                        • Figure 27: Intent to gift wearable tech, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2017
                                                                        • Figure 28: Sports participation and fitness tracker ownership by sport played, Hispanics vs non-Hispanics, September 2016
                                                                      • Gift marketing to target both sexes
                                                                        • Counting seniors out as gift givers.
                                                                          • Figure 29: Intent to gift wearable tech, by gender and age, October 2017
                                                                        • His and hers
                                                                          • Figure 30: Intent to gift wearable tech, by parental status, October 2017
                                                                      • Desired Features in Fitness Trackers

                                                                        • Lack of cellular potential deal breaker
                                                                          • NFC features need demonstration
                                                                            • Live events bringing contactless payments mainstream
                                                                              • Figure 31: Features sought in tracking devices, October 2017
                                                                            • Three keys to desirability: tracking, calling, and texting
                                                                              • Figure 32: TURF analysis – Features, October 2017
                                                                            • Older ages better fit for trackers, younger for smartwatches
                                                                              • Figure 33: Interest in tracking and communication features, by age, October 2017
                                                                              • Figure 34: Interest in high-tech features, by age, October 2017
                                                                            • Women see fitness, men see tech
                                                                              • Figure 35: Interest in tracking and communication features, by gender, October 2017
                                                                              • Figure 36: Interest in high-tech wearable features, by gender, October 2017
                                                                            • Digital assistants to become de rigueur for name brands
                                                                              • Figure 37: Interest in wearable tech features, by location of residence, October 2017
                                                                          • Interest in Virtual Reality Headsets

                                                                            • Interest in VR headsets high, penetration low
                                                                              • Figure 38: Ownership and interest in ownership of VR headsets, by gender and age, October 2017
                                                                            • Price points a problem for tethered headsets
                                                                              • Figure 39: Ownership and interest in ownership of VR headsets, by household income, October 2017
                                                                            • Millennial Hispanics a top audience for VR
                                                                              • Figure 40: Ownership and interest in ownership of VR headsets, by race and Hispanic origin, October 2017
                                                                            • Kids and their parents
                                                                              • Figure 41: Ownership and interest in ownership of VR headsets, by parental status, October 2017
                                                                            • Last but not least...men aged 18-34
                                                                              • Figure 42: Ownership and interest in ownership of VR headsets, by gender and age, October 2017
                                                                          • Interest in Virtual Reality Activities

                                                                            • Far more than gaming desired
                                                                              • Figure 43: Interest in VR activities, October 2017
                                                                            • Three activities reach 90% of potential users
                                                                              • Figure 44: TURF analysis – Virtual reality activities, October 2017
                                                                            • Women, older adults seek more diverse array of experiences
                                                                              • Figure 45: Interest in VR activities, by gender, October 2017
                                                                              • Figure 46: Interest in VR activities, by age, October 2017
                                                                            • Bringing people from further away together
                                                                              • Figure 47: Interest in VR activities, by location of residence, October 2017
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                              • Sales data
                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                  • TURF methodology
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Terms

                                                                                        Wearable Technology - US - December 2017

                                                                                        US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)