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Smartwatch sales were up more than 60 percent in the US last year

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Smartwatch sales were up more than 60 percent in the US last year, showing that more people are coming into the wearables market as devices begin to mature. The figure comes from The NPD Group, which also said that US smartwatch sales totaled nearly $5 billion, a 50 percent increase over the previous year.

It’s a good sign for wearables, but the market is already dominated by a few names: Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. Together, they made up 88 percent of smartwatch unit sales during the time the NPD was monitoring them (from November 2017 to November 2018). That’s a particularly bad stat for Google, as none of those companies make Wear OS devices.

Still, the market is just starting to take off. The NPD found that US smartwatch ownership grew from 12 percent in 2017 to 16 percent in 2018, largely driven by younger buyers. The firm found that nearly a quarter of people between ages 18 to 34 now have a smartwatch.

The NPD predicts growth picking up as more health features come to smartwatches. Apple added fall detection to the Apple Watch this year, along with a redesign that made the device look better than earlier models. Samsung’s development has slowed down somewhat, but its latest Galaxy Watch model added fitness and sleep tracking features.

Google, meanwhile, bought some secret smartwatch tech from Fossil that’ll make its way into Wear OS watches. Neither company confirmed what the tech was, but it’s suggested to be health related.