In our modern data-driven, information-gathering, tech-savvy world, is it any surprise that companies are devising computing products that seamlessly weave into our daily lives?
Health and fitness wearables are one of the most recent additions to constant connectivity.
If you aren’t familiar with wearable technology, you aren’t alone. It’s a new burgeoning market that doesn’t yet seem to have caught fire in the United States, according to some industry analysts. Currently the biggest part of sales is overseas.
Wearables are personalized devices that are worn on the body, either attached to the body itself with a wrist bracelet or necklace or inserted into a clothing item, such as shoes or socks, to enhance functionality.
Most track your activity patterns, calories burned, and sleep patterns. Some devices are surrogates for smart phones, allowing you to sync and use your phone without having it in your hand.
The research firm, the NPD Group reported that about one in three consumers have heard of wearable fitness devices, but just 28 percent intend to buy one. Demographically, women (58 percent) outnumber men among prospective buyers.
Among prospective buyers, counting calories (50 percent) and tracking the number of steps taken in a day (32 percent) are most sought-after features. Just 6 percent say they would be interested in sharing their fitness data on a social network, according to the NPD study.
Well-known tech companies like Google, Samsung, Sony, LG, Apple and Garmin, as well as a handful of startups, such as Fitbit, Jawbone and Misfit have jumped into the digital wearables game, now estimated at more than $330 million in retail sales.
“The market is now large enough to accommodate a variety of products aimed at all levels of athlete -- from serious performance-minded consumers to hobbyists --a sure sign of maturity,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst with the NPD Group.