The immediate prognosis for fitness wearables isn’t a strong one. Yes, while 2013 and to some extent 14 might have been the year of the activity tracking wearable, 2015 most certainly isn’t set to go that way. Instead, with the release of Apple’s Smart Watch, Microsoft’s Smart Band and several other smartwatches with faster processors, better displays and (at least in the case of everyone but Apple), better battery life, 2015 is the year of the Smartwatch.
However those same analysts that are calling doom on the house of the fitness tracker, suggest that it won’t be kept down for long. In-fact, as technologies improve and we begin to be able to track even more information about ourselves, as well as improving battery life and wearable display technology, they’re suggesting that we could see a resurgence of the technology by 2016.
This prediction comes from research firm Gartner, which while projecting a drop from 70 million fitness bands in 2014, to just over 68 million sold in 2015, suggests that by 2016 those same fitness bands (or at least, their smarter, faster descendent) will have reached a much more impressive 90 million+.
Part of this however, will be because the lines between fitness bands and smartwatches will begin to blur, with different developers taking functions from others and merging them into one unified, wrist-mounted device.
Gartner also believes that the continued uptake for non-fitness purposes by companies like insurers, gyms and sports organisations, will help the technology’s recovery.
“These companies will serve as a growing distribution channel for device manufacturers,” it said (via <a href=”http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/18/fitness-wearables-bounce/” target=”top”>TechCrunch</a>). “The new channels also result from fitness monitors being integrated into employee badges or identification bracelets for access control. Business-to-consumer companies will have rewards or gamification linked to the use of wearables as a way of keeping customers engaged with their brands.”
Another aspect of the wearable type’s growth will be to do with software however. The push for health-focused applications like RunKeeper, Zombies Run, Apple’s HealthKit, Google’s Fit, Samsung’s SAMI, all of them make people more health concious and give them something to do with the data that fitness bands collect.
With better software, comes more detailed breakdowns of what we’re doing and the more accurate and useful those become, the more interested we’ll be in picking up a wearable fitness tracker, as it gives us much more exciting things to do with it.