First Click: Wearables are booming but is anyone still wearing them?

December 4th, 2015

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Wearable shipments are up an impressive 197.6 percent worldwide in Q3 of 2015 compared to the same three months last year, according to IDC analysts. 21 million units shipped in all, up from 7.1 million in Q3 of 2014. IDC’s definition of “wearables” covers devices like the practically disposable $14 Mi Band from Xiaomi, the tiny $60 FitBit Zip clip-on, and the most luxurious Apple Watch Edition smartwatch. It’s not surprising then that consumers don’t see all “wearables” as equals according to IDC:

"While there has been clear growth in the wearable market, there has been little sign of product cannibalization. Smart watches have drawn increased attention to the market from the likes of Apple, Motorola, Pebble, and Samsung, but this has not dampened interest in fitness trackers. By the end of 3Q15, shipment volumes for both product categories increased sequentially and year over year, showing that, for now, the categories can co-exist and grow. This also provides end users with choice in terms of feature sets and functionalities, ranging from simple fitness tracking to smartphone-like experiences."

I’ve dabbled in wearables for years, but stopped wearing my dedicated fitness tracker after it no longer motivated me. I also stopped wearing a smartwatch when I realized I wasn’t gaining anything by wearing an expensive buzzer on my wrist. So, despite the impressive growth in wearables, I have to wonder how long people will keep wearing them.

abandoning wearables

A widely cited survey from 2014 by Endeavour Partners claims that a third of owners abandon their wearables after just six months, up from 50 percent the year prior. The same survey conducted in May 2015 (just as the Apple Watch was launched) showed little improvement.

What about you?

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