Consumer demand for wearables slows, Apple gains on Fitbit

After a surge in consumer interest in wearable technology, which reached its peak in January, demand has been slowing for wearables over the past six months of 2015.

That’s among the findings of a new report by research firm Argus Insights tracking the wearables market, which now includes fitness bands, smartwatches, smart glasses, and other sensor-enabled devices.

“Our analysis of review volume for the wearables market correlates directly with unit sales volume, and we have seen a significant slowing in consumer demand for both wearables in general and fitness bands in particular,” said John Feland, CEO and founder of Argus Insights, in a written statement.

Also see: Wearable devices: Fad or future of wellness?

While the report indicates that Fitbit continues to grab the most mindshare among the brands, Apple Watch, LG Watch Urbane, and Moto 360 are achieving higher levels of satisfaction among consumers with their smartwatches, finds the firm. According to the report, the Apple Watch in particular has “stolen” consumer interest from Fitbit and other wearables. And, although Fitbit has garnered a “very high level of buzz” with its fitness bands, consumer satisfaction with their products is dropping at the same time that Apple’s is on the rise.

The majority of Fitbit users lost interest in their fitness bands after just six months, concludes the report, which posits that smartwatches might ultimately replace fitness bands since they have fitness and health tracking capabilities in addition to their many other functions.

 “Consumers expect their wearables to do more than simply count steps, just as they expect to do more than just make phone calls with their handsets,” said Feland. “It is clear that as the Apple Watch, the Moto 360, and the LG Watch Urbane outperform fitness bands in the hearts of consumers, Fitbit and others in this category will need to add more to their offerings to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more.”

Also see: 5 reasons wearable wellness is here to stay

The report asks the question on the minds of many industry analysts: Will the rise of the smartwatch render fitness bands obsolete? However, don’t count Fitbit out just yet, says Argus Insights. Sensitive to the fact that consumer interest in Apple Watch is “skyrocketing,” the firm says Fitbit and other vendors in this space are investing in research and development and working on adding new capabilities for their products.

Greg Slabodkin writes for Health Data Management, a SourceMedia publication.

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