NPD: Connected Digital Fitness Category Surges

According to The NPD Group, the connected digital fitness device category has continued to see strong growth in the first quarter of 2016.

From January through March of this year, dollar and unit sales of connected digital fitness devices grew 40% and 27%, respectively, versus the first quarter of 2015, according to NPD’s retail tracking service.

Through the end of the first quarter, Fitbit remained the leading brand in the connected digital fitness device category, accounting for 81% of U.S. market dollar sales. Since 2014, the company has been a market leader in the category, and in the first quarter saw a 50% dollar growth compared to the year prior, while the rest of the market grew 10%, noted NPD.

“Increased distribution has led to many more buying opportunities for consumers, but the digital fitness device market has become more diverse in the past year,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Devices have added new capabilities and there is a wide selection of products at different prices and form factors for consumers to choose from. Because of this, we’ve seen digital fitness device sales rapidly grow and become a mainstream technology product.”

Weston Henderek, director, NPD Connected Intelligence, citing NPD’s consumers and wearables survey data, added, “Activity tracker penetration in the U.S. has increased substantially from 11% in the first quarter of 2015, to 16% of the adult population today.”

Henderek also noted that ownership of these devices is expected to reach at least 19% or in excess of 41 million by the end of this year, according to NPD’s Connected Intelligence industry overview and forecast report.