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US Wearable Technology market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Wearable Technology market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report includes any technology designed to be worn including:

  • Smartwatches
  • Smart headphones.
  • Fitness bands
  • Fitness clips
  • Fitness jewelry
  • Wearable cameras
  • Smart clothing
  • GPS (global positioning system) watches
  • AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) headsets

The focus of the report, however, is on fitness tech capable of measuring physical activity and other health features.

Key points included

  • Slowing growth for wearables in a fragmented market
  • Wearables: a nice to have, not a must have
  • Early innovators stumble

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Fiona O'Donnell, a leading analyst in the Multicultural, Lifestyles, Travel & Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Although some segments of the market are more mature, it’s still early days for most wearables. Features and standards are evolving, companies are still jostling for position, and consumers seeking to buy are finding it difficult to get all the features they want in a single device at an affordable price. These challenges have led to some volatility in the market. However, as consumers seem to have solid interest in mobility and gaining fitness and communications features in a single wearable device, there is clearly long-term potential for this category. Fiona O'Donnell
Director - Multicultural, Lifestyles, Travel & Leisure

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Slowing growth for wearables in a fragmented market
              • Figure 1: US manufacturer shipments of wearable tech (millions), 2013-18
            • Wearables: a nice to have, not a must have
              • Figure 2: Factors limiting wearables fitness device penetration, by key demographics, October 2018
            • Early innovators stumble
              • Figure 3: Global sales of Fitbit, GoPro, and Garmin fitness divisions, 2012-18
            • The opportunities
              • One device that does it all
                • Figure 4: Wearable technology features of interest, by key demographics, October 2018
              • Clear audiences for low-cost fitness trackers
                • Figure 5: Interest in health tracking, by key demographics, October 2018
              • Upgrades also an important market
                • Figure 6: Wearables purchasing behavior – NETs, October 2018
              • Don’t forget about the gift market
                • Figure 7: Wearables gifting – NETs, October 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Growth stumbles for a new category
                  • Different levels of maturity for different segments
                    • Smartphones are key competition
                      • Interest in health, athleisure could drive sales
                      • Market Size

                        • Initial growth slows
                          • Figure 8: US manufacturer shipments of wearable technology, 2013-18
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Fitness tech, action camcorders slow
                          • Smartwatches in it for the long haul
                            • VR, AR: Still at the beginning
                              • Figure 9: US manufacturer shipments of wearable tech, by segment, 2013-18
                          • Market Perspective

                            • Overlap with smartphones
                              • Drone cameras: From hands-free to person-free
                              • Market Factors

                                • Strong interest in tracking health
                                  • Figure 10: Interest in fitness/health tracking, October 2018
                                • The “drawerwear” factor
                                  • Figure 11: Wearable fitness and health tracker used in the last 30 days, November 2012-June 2018
                                • Harnessing the athleisure trend?
                                • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                  • Struggles for fitness and action-cam companies
                                    • Multifunction devices likely to prevail
                                      • Dedicated products will lack for broad audiences
                                        • Smart clothing coming soon?
                                        • Company and Brand Sales

                                          • Fitness, action camcorder companies see sales declines
                                            • Figure 12: Global sales of Fitbit, GoPro, and Garmin fitness division, 2012-18
                                          • Apple Watch breaks through?
                                          • What’s Working?

                                            • One device that can do it all
                                              • Let the music play
                                              • What’s Struggling?

                                                • Lack of a standard OS
                                                  • Figure 13: Operating system preference, October 2018
                                                • High cost
                                                  • Power play
                                                  • What’s Next?

                                                    • Clothing to get smarter
                                                      • From hearing and seeing to feeling
                                                        • New high-tech help for the impaired
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Solid potential for market growth
                                                            • Health features of solid interest
                                                              • Music, phone features popular
                                                                • High levels of repeat purchase intent
                                                                  • Cost is the primary factor inhibiting purchasing
                                                                  • Ownership and Interest in Wearable Tech

                                                                    • Room to grow for many types of wearables
                                                                      • Figure 14: Ownership and interest in wearable tech – NETs, October 2018
                                                                      • Figure 15: Ownership and interest in wearable tech, October 2018
                                                                    • Ownership highest amongst the young and affluent
                                                                      • Figure 16: Ownership and interest in wearable tech – NETS, by age and household income, October 2018
                                                                    • Asians, Hispanics most engaged with wearables
                                                                      • Figure 17: Ownership and interest in wearable tech - NETs, by race and Hispanic origin, October 2018
                                                                  • Interest in Fitness/Health Tracking

                                                                    • Solid interest in health features
                                                                      • Figure 18: Interest in fitness/health tracking, October 2018
                                                                    • Women a key audience for fitness trackers
                                                                      • Figure 19: Interest in fitness/health tracking, by age and gender, October 2018
                                                                    • Lower interest amongst seniors
                                                                      • Figure 20: Interest in fitness/health tracking, by age and household income, October 2018
                                                                  • Interest in Wearable Fitness Technology Features

                                                                    • Young women interested in phone features
                                                                      • Figure 21: Interest in wearable fitness tech features, by age and gender, October 2018
                                                                    • Music particularly compelling for less affluent users
                                                                      • Figure 22: Interest in wearable fitness tech features, by age and household income, October 2018
                                                                    • Hispanics, Asians want to talk and text
                                                                      • Figure 23: Interest in wearable fitness tech features – by race and Hispanic origin, October 2018
                                                                  • Purchasing Behavior

                                                                    • Purchase intent high for fitness trackers, smartwatches/bands
                                                                      • Figure 24: Wearables purchase behavior – NETs, October 2018
                                                                      • Figure 25: Wearables purchase behavior, October 2018
                                                                    • Repeat purchase intent high for men
                                                                      • Figure 26: Wearables purchase behavior – fitness tracker and smartwatch/band, by gender, October 2018
                                                                    • Purchase intent decreases significantly with age
                                                                      • Figure 27: Wearables purchase behavior – Fitness tracker and smartwatch/band, by age, October 2018
                                                                  • Consumer Motivations

                                                                    • Health, phone features prevail
                                                                        • Figure 28: Purchase motivations for wearable fitness devices, by age, October 2018
                                                                      • Parents value being in touch
                                                                        • Figure 29: Purchase motivations for wearable fitness devices, by gender and parent status, October 2018
                                                                      • Cost the primary barrier to entry
                                                                          • Figure 30: Factors limiting wearable fitness device penetration, October 2018
                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                          • Sales data
                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                • Abbreviations