What Will Happen to Wearables This Year?

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In 2015, it seems that wearables were on track to emerge from a new product category into a hard-hitting mainstay. But it seems that wearables may end up suffering the same stagnation that stole the wind from the sails of the tablet.

In October 2015, eMarketer expected wearable usage among US adults to grow more than 60% this year. That number has been adjusted to just 25%.

In 2017, it’s expected that 40 million US adults will wear a connected device at least monthly, far below the original forecast of 64 million.

EMarketer predicts that, this year, usage of wearables will reach just 15.8% of the population—and that penetration rate is only expected to grow to 21.1% by 2020.

“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,” said eMarketer analyst Cathy Boyle. “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.”

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