Fitness Bands Continue to Outsell Smartwatches in Wearable Market

by

Three out of four wearable devices worn by U.S. consumers are fitness bands, over half of which are made by Fitbit, according to new statistics released today.

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s wearable tech report 2016, more than one in ten consumers in the U.S. own a wearable device (12.2 percent of survey respondents), yet despite smartwatch vendors like Apple promoting advanced features over and above health and fitness capabilities, fitness bands are showing no signs of wavering popularity.

Fitbit Apple Watch
"For both smartwatch and fitness band buyers – brand, ease of use, and functionality are the top drivers of purchase, outweighing both design and cost," said Shannon Conway, wearable tech analyst for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Fitbit established itself as an early market leader, capturing 61.7 percent of the U.S. installed base by communicating a clear and simple value proposition to consumers." By contrast, Apple accounts for only 6.8 percent of the total number of fitness bands and smartwatches owned in the US.

In the two months ending with March 2016, Fitbit claimed more than 50 percent of wearable purchases with the sales period only partially covering its newest releases, the Blaze and the Alta. Apple and Garmin trailed in second and third, respectively.

In the same period, Fitbit's Flex continued to be one of the top-selling models among fitness bands and smartwatches combined, behind the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR. Overall sales of wrist-worn wearables were driven largely by online purchases (63 percent) and particularly through Amazon.com, which has proven to be Fitbit's top retailer.

Meanwhile in Europe, wearables have not seen the same popularity as in the U.S., achieving only half the market penetration (6.6 percent), while Fitbit does not dominate the market the way it does on the other side of the Atlantic. "Of the combined fitness band and smartwatch base, Fitbit remains the most-owned brand at 18.5 percent, but Apple and Samsung follow closely with 14 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively," said market analyst Lauren Guenveur. Europe's big four markets include Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy.

Earlier this week, Fitbit CEO James Park explained in an interview how he decided to re-engineer Fitbit products to support Bluetooth following the introduction of the iPhone 4s (the first iPhone to support Bluetooth 4.0), which made the the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip highly successful as a result. Since then, Fitbit has made an effort to stray away from Apple's approach to product design, focusing on simple devices to make wearables more approachable while avoiding "feature overload".

Fitbit sold 21.4 million devices in 2015, earning $1.86 billion in revenue. While Apple doesn't break out sales of the Apple Watch, IDC and Strategy Analytics estimates put sales at approximately 11.4 million.

The full Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Quarterly Wearables Report can be viewed here.

Tag: Fitbit

Top Rated Comments

levitynyc Avatar
62 months ago
Of course. They have great battery life, very functional, and are affordable.

3 things the Apple Watch isn't.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArcaneDevice Avatar
61 months ago

I owned a FitBit, a Jawbone and a Nike Gear. I junked all those, and wear an Apple Watch because it's so much better. Battery life is irrelevant. It lasts all day and is charging on my nightstand every night.

...

The Apple Watch is so much better in every way.

So if it's on a nightstand charging how is an Apple Watch tracking your sleep pattern and RHR? If the battery needs charging almost every day how is it both a non-issue and "better in every way" because clearly it isn't.

It might have a good enough battery for a "smart watch" but when compared to dedicated fitness devices which are also platform agnostic it doesn't hold up at all. And when compared to something like a Fenix 3 the Apple Watch is absolutely pitiful in every regard from a sports and fitness perspective.

So better in every way? No, not even close to an accurate statement.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
61 months ago
Fitbit is still wicked popular, and the Apple watch just can't compete at the price point. Its a device that is very apple like in its simplicity, yet Apple's watch is unlike other apple products in that its not that simple to operate.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xDKP Avatar
62 months ago
The price alone as a massive differentiator here, they are very approachable to a lot of people
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hermes Monster Avatar
62 months ago
Apple should definitely make a fitness band, the activity app was the one thing I missed when I sold my Apple Watch - I now have a FitBit Alta, but it's basic and ugly, though funtional
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TwoBytes Avatar
62 months ago

Of course. They have great battery life, very functional, and are affordable.

3 things the Apple Watch isn't.

Yep.

The Apple watch doesn't compete with fitness bands.
My Fitbit lasts all week and track calories. Apple watch doesn't which is why it's not doing as well as it could.

Apple watch 1 - battery doesn't last a day
Apple watch 2 - new feature, battery lasts 1 day!
Apple Watch 3 - battery lasts 2 days. It's 50% better!
Apple Watch 4 - etc..

Meanwhile, i'm sure all other fitness trackers will last a month on a single charge, track calories, barcode scan and do all other sorts of body tracking.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...