Wearable Device Market in Dire Need of a Tune-Up

When it comes to connected devices, the wearables market has been sputtering a bit lately. Just this week, Fitbit announced that it acquired assets of Pebble Technology.

June 8, 2017

2 Min Read
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By Lynn Haber

When it comes to connected devices, the wearables market has been sputtering lately. Just this week, Fitbit announced that it acquired assets of Pebble Technology that include key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development — and excludes Pebble's hardware products.

Although the four-year-old startup reportedly sold over 2 million devices worldwide, the company was unable to continue operations as an independent company, as company founder Eric Migicovsky posted on Pebble's website.

On the other hand Fitbit, founded in 2007, is a leader in the connected health and fitness category, aiming to help people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. The company is famous for designing products and experiences that track everyday health and fitness.

Gartner recently noted a high abandonment rate for smartwatches (29%) and 30% for fitness trackers due to boredom, breakage or users not finding them useful.

“Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. “The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.”

According to the survey, the US is leading smartwatch usage at 12%, while the UK is at 9% and Australia at 7%. Usage is up from a similar 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 8% of US respondents and 5% in the UK used smartwatches.

The survey also showed that the US is leading fitness tracker usage at 23%, followed by the UK at 15% and Australia at 19%. Usage has increased since the Gartner 2015 consumer survey, which showed that 17% of respondents in the US and 10% in the UK used fitness trackers. Most people with a fitness tracker wear it every day. For those who do not, 26% wear their fitness tracker at least several times each week.

Just last month, rumors flew about Intel stepping back from its wearables business amid reports of layoffs. However, the company shot back standing by its commitment to the emerging wearable technology market.

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