Fitness tracker users are older & richer, early smartwatch adopters mostly young men, survey finds

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2015
With a glut of fitness trackers and smartwatches being introduced this week at CES ahead of the launch of the Apple Watch, a new survey finds that current wearable devices attract very different types of users based on their primary functionality.



New data from the NPD Connected Intelligence Consumers and Wearables Report reveals that one in ten U.S. adults now owns a fitness tracker. In contrast, smartwatches are not yet as mainstream, with just two percent market penetration.

Fitness trackers from companies like Fitbit and Jawbone are not only more popular, but they attract a very different segment of the population: Owners of fitness-focused wearables tend to be older and more affluent than those who wear smartwatches.

NPD found that 36 percent of fitness tracker owners in the U.S. are between the ages of 35 and 54, while more than half --?54 percent --?are women.




In contrast, 69 percent of those who own smartwatches --?devices like Pebble or watches running Android Wear -- are between the ages of 18 and 34. Smartwatch users are also overwhelmingly male, representing 71 percent of owners in the U.S.

As for average income, 41 percent of those owning a fitness tracker brought in more than $100,000 per year. But 48 percent of smartwatch owners earn less than $45,000 per year.

"There is no 'average' consumer for the wearables market; the fitness tracker and smartwatch target consumer are fundamentally different," said Wes Henderek, director NPD Connected Intelligence. "While we expect smartwatch ownership to grow more rapidly over the next year, there will remain a clear place for the fitness tracker due to its size, battery life, and focus on one specific use case - as opposed to the smartwatch which is trying to be a little bit of everything for everyone."




The data comes as Apple is poised to present its own entrance into the wearables market with a wrist-worn device that aims to be both a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. The NPD research was also published during CES, the annual electronics trade show, where this year a wide range of wearable devices have been introduced.

For the survey, NPD polled 5,000 U.S. consumers age 18 and older in December 2014.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I am still looking at the Charge HR, which is now shipping as of today, but I told myself I would wait to see what Apple offers in the way of features with the next ?Watch demo.

    I also like the Wirthings scale and use their app to compete with family and friends for steps in a week, which means their Activité watch might be a better fit.

    Regardless, I'll hold off for now.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Regardless, I'll hold off for now.

    Me too, but for the Apple Watch, as it isn't waterproof. I'm hoping for a future version to be waterproof, so I can use it while swimming. Still, for the more serious sporty types I still think a dedicated sorts watch is the best option. With dedicated buttons for certain (triathlete) functions those server their purpose, at around the same price (well, some go up to $599)
  • Reply 3 of 38
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    philboogie wrote: »
    Me too, but for the Apple Watch, as it isn't waterproof. I'm hoping for a future version to be waterproof, so I can use it while swimming. Still, for the more serious sporty types I still think a dedicated sorts watch is the best option. With dedicated buttons for certain (triathlete) functions those server their purpose, at around the same price (well, some go up to $599)

    Getting an IP67 rating or better is one of the features I want to see as of their next demo.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    I don't care about any surveys or categories. I don't care about any other company's crap gadgets. I'm getting an Apple Watch for its integration with Apple's ecosystem, its aesthetics, and its inevitably great functionality.
  • Reply 5 of 38

    I bought the original Jawbone UP when Meh had it for $40. So far I've liked it, it has a lot of nice functions and it's waterproof, so I wear it in the shower.

     

    Guess what feature I wish it had the most?

     

    The ability to display the time.

     

     

    In short, I need ?Watch. Though I'm assuming that won't go in the shower, so the UP might have a purpose still.

  • Reply 6 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member

    Fitness? I need to get my ass to the gym more often, that would be a great start. My iPhone serves most of my other minute to minute digital needs and my laptop is my forklift truck. I'd like to simplify rather than complexify my life at the moment and I am even thinking of getting a larger iPhone, perhaps even a 6+ and ditching the iPad.

     

    I follow the iWatch developments with curiosity and enthusiasm but even for all its apparent brilliance I can't see myself getting one for a while. 

  • Reply 7 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    I bought the original Jawbone UP when Meh had it for $40. So far I've liked it, it has a lot of nice functions and it's waterproof, so I wear it in the shower.

     

    Guess what feature I wish it had the most?

     

    The ability to display the time.

     

    In short, I need ?Watch. Though I'm assuming that won't go in the shower, so the UP might have a purpose still.


    I have several Swatches, a nice mechanical self winder and my favourite - an airforce helicopter pilot chronograph watch in a drawer. Tried one the other day and hated the feeling of having something on my wrist. Besides, I have a car clock, a kitchen clock, a bathroom clock, an oven clock, a digital thermometer clock, my Mac, my own and my family's assorted iPhones, and iPad lying around so 'time' is usually well told wherever I am. 

  • Reply 8 of 38
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    paxman wrote: »
    Fitness? I need to get my ass to the gym more often, that would be a great start.

    Before the commitment to going to some place, that may cost money, to work out I suggest first getting into the habit of doing your 10,000 steps per days. This was one of my New Year's Resolutions. There seems to be more and more health reports that say that simply doing the 10,000 steps per day (at any pace) is a huge benefit to your overall health.

    I use the Pedometer++ and Health Mate apps to monitor my progress. The latter has a leaderboard feature that you can compete against family and friends, which I find helpful in achieving that goal.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    I have several Swatches, a nice mechanical self winder and my favourite - an airforce helicopter pilot chronograph watch in a drawer. Tried one the other day and hated the feeling of having something on my wrist. Besides, I have a car clock, a kitchen clock, a bathroom clock, an oven clock, a digital thermometer clock, my Mac, my own and my family's assorted iPhones, and iPad lying around so 'time' is usually well told wherever I am. 




    I wore a watch before I bought the UP (when I could, my previous job didn't allow it), so when I know something is on my wrist, my mind still expects it to be a watch.

  • Reply 10 of 38
    sog35 wrote: »
    buying any 'smartwatch' before the AppleWatch comes out would be stupidity.

    I thought buying any 'smartwatch' before Intel Skylake comes out would be stupidity. Because it's got the elite specs!
  • Reply 11 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    Before the commitment to going to some place, that may cost money, to work out I suggest first getting into the habit of doing your 10,000 steps per days. This was one of my New Year's Resolutions. There seems to be more and more health reports that say that simply doing the 10,000 steps per day (at any pace) is a huge benefit to your overall health.



    I use the Pedometer++ and Health Mate apps to monitor my progress. The latter has a leaderboard feature that you can compete against family and friends, which I find helpful in achieving that goal.

    That makes sense though I suspect I will struggle with achieving 10 000 steps per day even counting dog walking. It sounds an awful lot. Have you ever tried 'hit'? There is a lot of interesting reports done on its value - here's an interesting video (BBC Horizon) - with Dr Michael Mosely. It also preaches the value of walking.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    I wore a watch before I bought the UP (when I could, my previous job didn't allow it), so when I know something is on my wrist, my mind still expects it to be a watch.


    I suspect I would react the same. I wore a watch for many years.

  • Reply 12 of 38
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    paxman wrote: »
    Fitness? I need to get my ass to the gym more often, that would be a great start.

    Before the commitment to going to some place, that may cost money, to work out I suggest first getting into the habit of doing your 10,000 steps per days. This was one of my New Year's Resolutions. There seems to be more and more health reports that say that simply doing the 10,000 steps per day (at any pace) is a huge benefit to your overall health.

    I use the Pedometer++ and Health Mate apps to monitor my progress. The latter has a leaderboard feature that you can compete against family and friends, which I find helpful in achieving that goal.

    1) I agree that one needs to start doing some exercise, regardless of a device tracking your moves, making an excuse to buy something. Usually people end up not doing their intended exercise and waste spending money on something (though an Apple Watch will still be useful, that's the beauty of a smartwatch)

    2) Walking is the most healthy exercise one can do. Running is can be a heavy strain on your knees, whether you feel this or not), cycling can be bad for some veins to 'clenched'(?), swimming makes your hair feel all ... don't know the word, but it doesn't feel that good.

    How are people's resolution coming about? (I'm not doing good, without feeling the need what it is that I want to achieve)
  • Reply 13 of 38
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    paxman wrote: »
    My iPhone serves most of my other minute to minute digital needs and my laptop is my forklift truck. I'd like to simplify rather than complexify my life at the moment and I am even thinking of getting a larger iPhone, perhaps even a 6+ and ditching the iPad.

    Behold - a new word is born ! :)
  • Reply 14 of 38
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    robm wrote: »
    Behold - a new word is born ! :)

    Ha, funny you should pick up on that. I used that word a couple of weeks ago in a rewrite I was doing for a neurologist and was called on it. Then coincidentally I was watching some old Terence McKenna talks from the 1990s and he used it a few times, when he was talking about his singularity theory. I think you'll find it in the YouTube interview of him in his botanical garden in Hawaii
  • Reply 15 of 38
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

    ...

    In short, I need ?Watch. Though I'm assuming that won't go in the shower, so the UP might have a purpose still.


     

    Just get a waterproof case for it.  Maybe.

  • Reply 16 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobM View Post





    Behold - a new word is born ! image



    surely complicate would have worked just as well as complexify?

  • Reply 17 of 38
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member
    It's easy to see that Apple is targeting 30 year olds. In the Watch videos is shown a UI for entering date of birth, and the year down is 1984.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post



    It's easy to see that Apple is targeting 30 year olds. In the Watch videos is shown a UI for entering date of birth, and the year down is 1984.



    Yeah, that had nothing to do with the fact that the date shown was the release of the Mac...

  • Reply 19 of 38
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 587member
    paxman wrote: »
    That makes sense though I suspect I will struggle with achieving 10 000 steps per day even counting dog walking. It sounds an awful lot. Have you ever tried 'hit'? There is a lot of interesting reports done on its value - here's an interesting video (BBC Horizon) - with Dr Michael Mosely. It also preaches the value of walking.

    I suspect I would react the same. I wore a watch for many years.
    I had never heart of HIT training. After reading about the good Dr Mosely, it sounds very interesting. However I believe most Cross Training classes do the same thing, but in a more structured environment.

    Of more concern to me is the AI title. I opened the link expecting to read about dudes in their sixties, but apparently over 35 is 'Older'??? When did this happen?
    Bit of a bummer start to the day.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

     



    surely complicate would have worked just as well as complexify?




    It would have been complicatedly simple.

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