Wearables: Stepping up in 2016

The blog is back! Returning from Europe (Savannah) and the novelty of a new job (Caroline), we are both excited to end our hiatus with the start of the new year. A new year of posts, insights, and tips for and from young professionals!

Of course with any new year also come the obligatory resolutions. The one at the top of your list may not be all that different from the majority of others, ours included: health and wellness. Many finished with the holiday celebrations, are back to working off those gained pounds in time for the summer months. One might notice that not only are your gym colleagues wearing new fitness apparel but also sporting new fitness gadgets. Many tech companies are taking note of the wearable craze, and those producing the gadgets are cashing in.

Most recognizable in the turf of these fitness trackers is Fitbit. Remaining the front-runner this Christmas among consumers, during the holiday, the company’s app surged 20 spots to the number one position in Apple’s App Store. The boost in downloads clearly indicated many were buying or receiving the wristbands as gifts this holiday season. Although Black Friday sales for the ‘bits’ were seemingly so-so, the momentum towards Christmas showed Fitbit’s Q3 numbers captured 22.2% of the entire fitness wearable market.

fitbit pic

Even though Fitbit may be currently dominating, there’s no shortage of devices. Other trackers such as Jawbone, the Microsoft band, Garmin’s vivo line and Polar, have saturated the wearable device market. As the fitness division continues to be eagerly received, tech companies are pressing the expansion of the wearable market as a whole. The release of highly anticipated smartwatches like the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2, have propelled wearables to a new dimension – one that allows for a more integrated experience in all aspects of the consumer’s life.

smart watches

Now a wearable is not only a device that collects and stores information about personal health, but a device that allows one to more easily communicate with others, explore surrounding areas, and even live life without a wallet. The age of wearables is beginning and you can expect to see devices with more function, a wider range of capabilities, and outside of the wristwatch form.

In fact, Google’s once anticipated eyewear seems to be making a comeback as a new prototype of Google Glass surfaced on the Federal Communications Commission website this week. While only tweaks to the design can be visibly seen, such as the ability to physically fold like normal eyewear, the actual smart functions of the glasses are unforeseen. Despite not knowing the functional details, the giant’s reinvigoration of the eyewear shows health, growth, and opportunity in the market.

google eyewear

After novelty wears off it’s easy for resolutions to be kicked to the curb, however, wearables don’t seem to be phasing out anytime soon. According to a survey by the Consumer Technology Association, 74% of online American adults are likely to purchase health and fitness technology in the next 12 months. Others are already speculating how fitness monitors could completely change the landscape of healthcare coverage. Rather than once a year, what if health insurance payments fluctuated daily determined by a health sensor, asks Parmy Olson of Forbes. Yet, as we mentioned, wearables are not contained to just fitness. While much of the wearable future remains visionary right this second, as devices reach greater maturity and acceptance, APX Labs predict a six-fold growth in production in the year 2016.

If 2016 does become the year of explosion, as marketers we realize the mass amount of opportunity that would follow not only in the physical production of the devices but also within their virtual interface. As the devices and their platforms sophisticate, just as it has with any other smart medium, come the sequential fields of app production, app purchases, and in app advertisements. Wearables will surely be the next coveted outlet for ad space and a perfect channel to do so; they spend all day monitoring us, continually collecting human data – health, location, monetary, and entertainment habits. As consumers need to have the next big thing coincides with a craze that provides continuous data collection, marketers are sure to hit gold within the evolving wearable industry.

Do you own any wearable tech already? Do you find it useful? With smartphones already offering so many capabilities, do you feel as if you need anymore gadgets? Interested in other devices you can get your hands on? Check out this year’s Wearables 50 2016. Leave a comment and let us know what you think this 2016’s big trends are going to be!

– Savannah Valade & Caroline Robinson

 

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