Thursday, September 22, 2016

18% of U.S. broadband households own a wearable fitness device

Digital health research finds smart watches preferred over fitness trackers for sports activities

New digital health research from Parks Associates finds that 18% of U.S. broadband households own a wearable fitness device such as a smart watch or fitness tracker. 360 View: Empowering Healthcare Consumers reveals smart watches are more commonly used during sports activities than are fitness trackers. Among exclusive smart watch owners, 62% use the device while running and 30% for biking. In contrast, 50% of exclusive fitness-tracker owners use the device for running and 21% use it for biking.

Ownership of fitness trackers among U.S. broadband households grew from 10% to 12% between Q3 2015 and Q2 2016, while adoption of smart watches with fitness tracking functions doubled from 4% to 8% during that same period of time.

Use of a Fitness Tracker or Smart Watch During Participation in Sports Activities

“Adoption for fitness trackers and smart watches continues to accelerate,” said Harry Wang, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates.  “Our research shows that there is little overlap between these two sets of owners, and smart watch owners are more likely to use the device during rigorous activities such as running, biking, or swimming. The newly released Apple Watch 2 capitalizes on such user needs by adding GPS and water-proof functions, a smart move by Apple.”

360 View: Empowering Healthcare Consumers segments consumers based on their affinity to healthy lifestyles, propensity to change behaviors, and familiarity with and use of technologies in their daily life. The research also provides adoption and purchase triggers for relevant technologies, devices, and applications and details the means to engage users to promote positive behavioral changes. Additional research from the report shows:

  • Two-thirds of wearable fitness device owners use the device daily or almost daily.
  • Only 10% of wearable owners have both a fitness tracker and a smart watch.
  • After one year of ownership, a higher percentage of fitness tracker owners abandon the device compared to smart watch owners (17% vs. 8%).
  • Ownership of fitness trackers negatively impacts gym memberships.

“Fitness tracker and smart watch adoption will soon surpass that of connected exercise equipment, which is currently the most adopted connected health device,” Wang said. “Although Fitbit and the Apple Watch are the clear market leaders in each respective category and are at the forefront of this transformative trend, we expect more players to join the race in the coming years because of declining device costs, more intelligent software algorithms and services, and a greater number of consumers determined to manage their health proactively.”

More information about this 360 View is available at To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific data, contact Holly Sprague at, 720.987.6614.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-founded and certified business, is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

The company's expertise includes the Internet of Things (IoT), digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer apps, advanced advertising, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webinars, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers, and Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media.

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