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NPD Group: Smart Watch Ownership Could Bypass Activity Trackers

In its recent Connected Intelligence Wearables Forecast, the NPD Group has forecasted smart watch ownership in the U.S. to reach 9% of the U.S. adult population by 2016.  

NPD stated that as smart watch penetration grows, activity tracker penetration will begin to plateau. The group has forecasted that by the end of 2016, activity tracker ownership will have peaked at 32 million after growing significantly for four years. 

“The smart watch will clearly begin to take a bite out of the activity tracker market moving forward,” said Eddie Hold, vp/connected intelligence, NPD Group. “The fact that the health and fitness apps on smart watches are a key marketing focus will help draw consumers away from the simpler trackers.”

NPD also suggested, based on its findings, that the activity tracker is not just under threat from the smart watch but from itself as well, and that counting the number of steps taken on a daily basis is a small part of activity trackers’ appeal, therefore limiting the interest in the device. It cited that 40% of activity tracker owners stop using the device within six months.

Beyond the devices themselves, the smart watch and activity tracker markets will be defined by future available apps, suggesting that third party activity apps will be key to growth of the sport-related activity tracker market, and long-term smart watch use.

The Connected Intelligence Wearables Forecast is based on the responses of an online survey, conducted in Q1, that the NPD Group said surveyed 5,000 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older.