Fitness bands outselling all other wearables, including Apple Watch, research finds

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in Apple Watch
Despite devices like the Apple Watch nominally being able to do more, dedicated fitness bands are vastly outselling other wearables in the U.S., according to a research report published on Wednesday.

Fitbit's smartwatch-like Blaze tracker.
Fitbit's smartwatch-like Blaze tracker.


Three out of four wearables owned by Americans are fitness trackers, said Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The wearables market is still comparatively small however, as only 12.2 percent of Kantar's American survey group owned any such device.

Fitbit, makers of products like the Blaze and the Charge HR, controlled 61.7 percent of the U.S. install base. The Apple Watch held just 6.8 percent.

In fact, in a two-month period ending with March 2016, Fitbit reportedly achieved over 50 percent of wearable sales, with Apple and Garmin coming a distant second and third, respectively.

The balance of power was more even in four European markets surveyed -- France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy -- although just 6.6 percent of people owned a wearable. Fitbit controlled 18.5 percent of the install base, followed by Apple at 14 percent, and Samsung at 11.6.

Kantar suggested that brand, ease of use, and functionality were the top criteria people used when picking out a wearable, relegating design and even cost to lesser concerns. While Apple is one of the world's best-known brands, most fitness trackers are not only cheaper than the Apple Watch but intentionally simpler in function and interface, meant only to check things like steps, heartrate, or the time.

In a recent interview, Fitbit CEO James Park argued that Apple was taking the wrong approach to wearables by launching a "computing platform," and thereby making things more complicated. Most smartwatch makers, he said, are trying to cram in every possible feature since people still don't know what the products are good for.

Apple has yet to reveal sales numbers for the Watch, although CEO Tim Cook did claim that the product sold more units in its first year than the iPhone did in 2007, and that March quarter sales met expectations.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    Cheaper products sell better than more expensive products...News at 11.
    brucemcstevehlatifbp1983ai46ration alentropysdjames4242jony0flashfan207
  • Reply 2 of 48
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,520member
    Wow.  That products which mostly are priced under $100 should outsell products that sell for >$300 is quite out of the ordinary.

    Next someone will issue a press release that computers under $500 outsell those over $1000...as if
    steveh1983ai46ration alentropysjony0
  • Reply 3 of 48
    robjnrobjn Posts: 203member
    FAD.
    One that Wall Street has heavily bought into!

    A lot of "researchers" are desperate to talk up Fitbit because they are heavily invested and they are starting to see problems.
    caliai46entropys
  • Reply 4 of 48
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,825member
    And this data is coming from???
  • Reply 5 of 48
    73dray73dray Posts: 12member
    robjn said:
    FAD.
    One that Wall Street has heavily bought into!

    A lot of "researchers" are desperate to talk up Fitbit because they are heavily invested and they are starting to see problems.
    And how do you know this?

    When given a choice, I got a Fitbit Alta because it's small and provides most of the functions including time and alerts. It's also a lot cheaper and only needs to be charged every 4 days. The Apple Watch just isn't there yet. If it had dedicated GPS and better battery life, then I might consider it a good value at it's new price point.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 912member
    Well.  As an example, a coworker has already bought three Fitbits... the first one's non-replaceable strap broke in record time (not covered by warranty), replaced with an identical device.  Shortly after that, they upgraded to a more capable model.  All within an 18 month time span.
    ai46
  • Reply 7 of 48
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,142member
    sog35 said:
    Fitness bands are the portable digital cameras of 2010.

    A fad that will be killed in a few years.

    Fitness bands will see the same fate as other 1 use devices:

    Stand alone GPS
    Digital Camera's
    Portable DVD players
    MP3 Players
    Want to bet on that? Killed by what? The Apple watch alone? Not everyone has a iPhone, so no it won't. You have a iPhone as do I but even people that do have one will still buy a $150 or less fitness band as not everyone wants or needs a Apple Watch.
    73dray
  • Reply 8 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member
    sog35 said:
    73dray said:
    robjn said:
    FAD.
    One that Wall Street has heavily bought into!

    A lot of "researchers" are desperate to talk up Fitbit because they are heavily invested and they are starting to see problems.
    And how do you know this?

    When given a choice, I got a Fitbit Alta because it's small and provides most of the functions including time and alerts. It's also a lot cheaper and only needs to be charged every 4 days. The Apple Watch just isn't there yet. If it had dedicated GPS and better battery life, then I might consider it a good value at it's new price point.
    So taking 5 seconds to dock an Apple Watch each night is too much? Really?

    And how do you know which day to charge? Every second Tuesday? Every other Wednesday?

    If battery life is so important do you still use a flip phone? LOL.

    Devices that have more than 2 days of battery life are not maximizing technology. They would be better off with a smaller battery to decrease bulk or a faster more power consuming CPU. Personally I want a smartwatch that has 1-2 days of battery life instead of a week.  If it lasts a week all it means is the CPU is running in low power mode or the battery is way too big.


    Personally I want a truck that has a gas tank large enough for a day or two of work instead of a week. If it lasts a week it means the engine isn't being used effectively or the gas tank is way too big. 
  • Reply 9 of 48
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 114member
    sog35 said:
    Fitness bands are the portable digital cameras of 2010.

    A fad that will be killed in a few years.

    Fitness bands will see the same fate as other 1 use devices:

    Stand alone GPS
    Digital Camera's
    Portable DVD players
    MP3 Players
    Want to bet on that? Killed by what? The Apple watch alone? Not everyone has a iPhone, so no it won't. You have a iPhone as do I but even people that do have one will still buy a $150 or less fitness band as not everyone wants or needs a Apple Watch.
    Not the current Apple Watch, but future Apple Watch generations that do everything a corresponding iPhone model 10 years before it did. Of course, the iPhone needs to have existed for 10 years first.
    ai46
  • Reply 10 of 48
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    And this data is coming from???
    The same people AI and DED have quoted a hundred times over the years to prove Apple were king of the hill.  Selective source questioning is a bit pointless. 
    lord amhrangatorguy
  • Reply 11 of 48
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    sog35 said:


    I can't count the amount of people I know who bought a Fitbit because they went on a new diet. Or they though by merely wearing the band and walking around they would lose weight. Most of them don't wear them anymore and are in a drawer rotting.


    Eewwwwww!
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 12 of 48
    longpathlongpath Posts: 217member
    I find the responses here interesting, given the similar tone responses that appeared yesterday in response to an AI article on claims by FitBit's CEO. What I mainly noticed is that most of the pro-Apple Watch/con-everything else responses are based on hypothetical folks without specific goals or feature needs, whereas those of us that considered the Apple Watch, and I most certainly did; but, decided on an alternate product, had specific feature needs that the present Apple Watch does not address. The typical response to pointing this out is to chastise the observation and observer as atypical and therefore irrelevant (a borderline ad hominem, if you think about it). The reality is that I needed a watch with built-in GPS, overtly stated waterproofing (Apple's claims regarding the first generation Apple Watch's capabilities regarding water exposure are clear as mud when they both advise against getting it wet and also, for specific maladies, recommend washing it water), and notification capabilities. Would Apple Watch's capabilities , on top of those of the watch I selected, be nice to have? Of course they would; but, for me, and for just about every other single member of USA Triathlon, there are more suitable products, at comparable price points. 

    Do I acknowledge that some customers are acutely concerned with initial purchase price, rather than features or total cost of ownership? Certainly! MS, Dell, etc. all built whole business models based on those customers. Do I claim those people don't matter, or are irrelevant? No. Do I think that every business model must address every conceivable customer? No, that would ignore the opportunity costs of going after those customers.

    The main point is that berating someone because they don't need a 33 function Swiss Army knife makes the berator look a bit on the rabid side. Likewise, berating someone because they had the audacity to pick something other than an Apple product looks idiotic and neurotic. I say this as a long-time Apple customer, and Apple Certified System Administrator, and iPhone user. I also keep my iPhone in a LifeProof case, since Apple declines to waterproof the phone itself, and I wear a Polar V800 because Apple Watch can not do the job I need it to do to find a place on my wrist.
    larryatechloverwigginapple head
  • Reply 13 of 48
    crimguycrimguy Posts: 116member
    I see a fad at work here as well.  My son's 4th grade class is obsessed with the fitbit, all because one lucky kid got a Charge for his birthday.  I asked  him (he's a very nice kid, dad used to play in the MLB) why he has it, and he told me "Check how many steps I've walked, monitor my heart rate."  Of course I asked if he had some rare congenital defect that required a 10 year-old being monitored, and received a blank stare.

    So now my kid wants a Blaze.  As does all of his friends.  Then he saw the Moto360 and wants one of them.  The real reason is because he knows no one will ever buy him a $300 Apple Watch (he's basically admitted as much).

    I don't wish to take away the value of the fitbit.  My wife has been using one for years and it's a nice little device, the price is right, and it keeps her on track when exercising.  But at least in my limited circle, I'm seeing a bit of a blip more than anything.

    BTW, I got an apple watch 2 weeks ago and love it.  I see room for a lot of improvements but it is a neat device.
    applesidewinderpatchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 48
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    I see this as a good thing:
    a) the cheaper single purpose fitness bands are paving the way and getting people used to the idea of wearables. It only figures that a cheaper band answering a dedicated niche market will sell better - at first.
    b) It shows that the potential for Watch is great. Never mind market share - I am talking units sold. 
    longpathration al
  • Reply 15 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    So taking 5 seconds to dock an Apple Watch each night is too much? Really?

    And how do you know which day to charge? Every second Tuesday? Every other Wednesday?

    If battery life is so important do you still use a flip phone? LOL.

    Devices that have more than 2 days of battery life are not maximizing technology. They would be better off with a smaller battery to decrease bulk or a faster more power consuming CPU. Personally I want a smartwatch that has 1-2 days of battery life instead of a week.  If it lasts a week all it means is the CPU is running in low power mode or the battery is way too big.


    Personally I want a truck that has a gas tank large enough for a day or two of work instead of a week. If it lasts a week it means the engine isn't being used effectively or the gas tank is way too big. 
    You are silly comparing filling up gas to plugging in.  Filling up gas is much more inconvient.  Or do you have a gas pump in your garage? Or does your car have a 'low power' mode that allows it to run at 200 miles per gallon? The Watch does.

    1-2 days of battery life is the sweet spot for electronic computing devices. That's what iPads, iPhones, and Macbooks all have. There's a reason for that.
    Yes there is and a darn obvious one: Apple doesn't yet have the tech finished for better batteries. but they are supposedly working on it. Only a fool will refuse to buy an iPhone that lasts a week between charges when the tech arrives because Apple must have failed at either appropriately-powered processors or making the phone smaller.
    ;/

    You're being silly trying to beat life into an argument that was stillborn when you introduced it.  
    edited May 2016 singularitylarryacnocbui
  • Reply 16 of 48
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    brucemc said:
    Wow.  That products which mostly are priced under $100 should outsell products that sell for >$300 is quite out of the ordinary.

    Next someone will issue a press release that computers under $500 outsell those over $1000...as if
    Price is probably the main driver format people. If the Fitbit started at $250 and went up from there the take up rate would be lower.  Add that to the fact that Apple Watch is limited to iPhone users, so the audience overall will be limited as well.  They should compare the Apple Watch to other smart watches not to fitness specific devices as that is only a small subset of the Apple Watches capabilities. 
  • Reply 17 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member
    sog35 said:
    crimguy said:
    I see a fad at work here as well.  My son's 4th grade class is obsessed with the fitbit, all because one lucky kid got a Charge for his birthday.  I asked  him (he's a very nice kid, dad used to play in the MLB) why he has it, and he told me "Check how many steps I've walked, monitor my heart rate."  Of course I asked if he had some rare congenital defect that required a 10 year-old being monitored, and received a blank stare.

    So now my kid wants a Blaze.  As does all of his friends.  Then he saw the Moto360 and wants one of them.  The real reason is because he knows no one will ever buy him a $300 Apple Watch (he's basically admitted as much).

    I don't wish to take away the value of the fitbit.  My wife has been using one for years and it's a nice little device, the price is right, and it keeps her on track when exercising.  But at least in my limited circle, I'm seeing a bit of a blip more than anything.

    BTW, I got an apple watch 2 weeks ago and love it.  I see room for a lot of improvements but it is a neat device.
    Why not get your son an Apple Watch? You can find them for $250.  In the long run the Watch is cheaper than the Fitbit because they will last much longer, do much more, and may even save his life.


    I can see if Apple includes an LTE radio on the next Watch it would be a HUGE feature for parents. 
    Kids who get kidnapped or in trouble could send a distress signal from their watch. 
    Heck get e'm a cheap watch/phone/locator for that. As a plus other kid's on the playground won't steal it and you won't be so upset when the kid loses one as they well may.  A $250+ smartwatch is overkill for the use-case IMHO. 

    http://smartwatches.org/learn/here-are-the-best-gps-tracking-watches-for-kids/

    Now with that out of the way I agree with you that single or dual-use wearables will give up most of the market to "smartwatches" eventually as they will only get less-expensive over the next few years. Your better wearables two years from now will be both less expensive and more fully-featured than the best Apple offers today. 
    edited May 2016 ration al
  • Reply 18 of 48
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    Not to quibble but the "Gameboy Portable" was replaced by the Nintendo DS/3DS which is still selling pretty well. It is the Wii U that is the failure that everyone attributes to smartphones and tablets, but DS/3DS sales didn't crater nearly as much as the console sales did. The Wii U failed because Nintendo priced it the same as the XBox and Playstation where before their consoles cost half as much.

    As far as fitness bands being "a fad" you have to remember that the devices have been around for a long time, but were "dumb" devices called pedometers. I remember when fast food companies were giving the cheaper versions away with meals. The market for the "dumb" versions wasn't that big, but it wasn't insubstantial either; you could always see the things for sale at athletics stores, and manufacturers even built the things into shoes and such.

    So calling their "smart" (or smarter) equivalents a fad when their antecedents pre-existed the iPod - and iPods used to include them! - is a bit presumptive. As is expecting a $299 device - which needs to be paired with a $599 device - to replace it. It would be one thing if Apple and their competitors designed and advertised their watches to compete with and be better versions of the fitness trackers the way that the iPhone was both a better version of the Blackberry and Microsoft style smartphones AND feature phones. They aren't. Instead, they are separate devices with fitness features thrown in as a bonus. Except that the iPhone - and smartphones generally - have those same features. So ... no reason to buy a separate device when you can just purchase a $10 exercise band, strap your iPhone in and get going. Do that and you have all of the abilities that the smartwatch has - including the ability to check the time and listen to music - and plenty that the Apple Watch doesn't i.e a GPS and the ability to receive calls.

    Fitbit and its competitors are for people who for whatever reason want a better pedometer. That market isn't very big, but neither was the pedometer market that it mostly replaced. The Apple Watch, Android Wear and the rest are for people who for whatever reason want a phone - or more accurately a tablet unless you own one of the few Samsung Tizen or Android Wear devices that have 3G service - on their wrist. So before it obsoletes fitness trackers, the non-fitness tracker uses for the Apple Watch - and smart watches in general - need to be more compelling. Not least because most people who own Fitbit type devices do not own or wear watches of any sort and have no desire to.
    cali
  • Reply 19 of 48
    73dray73dray Posts: 12member
    sog35 said:
    73dray said:
    And how do you know this?

    When given a choice, I got a Fitbit Alta because it's small and provides most of the functions including time and alerts. It's also a lot cheaper and only needs to be charged every 4 days. The Apple Watch just isn't there yet. If it had dedicated GPS and better battery life, then I might consider it a good value at it's new price point.
    So taking 5 seconds to dock an Apple Watch each night is too much? Really?

    And how do you know which day to charge? Every second Tuesday? Every other Wednesday?

    If battery life is so important do you still use a flip phone? LOL.

    Devices that have more than 2 days of battery life are not maximizing technology. They would be better off with a smaller battery to decrease bulk or a faster more power consuming CPU. Personally I want a smartwatch that has 1-2 days of battery life instead of a week.  If it lasts a week all it means is the CPU is running in low power mode or the battery is way too big.


    I love Apple products but some of just don't wear watches like myself. The Fitbit Alta is great because it's light and provides exactly the functionality I'm looking for. If you like watches, then the Apple watch is probably perfect for you. I myself only wear a watch when I go out for dinner, and even then, it's a $125 slim Skagen (minimalist and thinner than the Apple Watch).
  • Reply 20 of 48
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    Fitbit and Apple Watch only really compete on the edges; just because you wear them both on your wrist doesn't mean that they're direct competitors. Neither is at all likely to replace the other in the marketplace, they'll run in parallel for whatever reasons for at least the near term future.

    1. Where they do compete (basically Fitbit's limited feature set), the Fitbit mostly wins on price. Where they don't (AppleWatch, or for that matter most other smartwatches), Fitbit isn't even in the running.

    2. Wristwatch sales and use have been declining for years; there are other functional alternatives for telling the time and date on the market with other compelling reasons for owning; this is mostly cellphones, especially smartphones.
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