Do fitness wearables need an affordable upgrade?

Fitness wearables: According to a recent Gartner poll, over a third of fitness tracker or smartwatch users end up dumping them. The poll evaluated around 9,000 users from the U.S., Australia and the U.K. Reasons for the reduced gadget usage varied from wearables failing, to simply growing sick with them.

“Dropout from gadget use is a big challenge for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, Gartner research director. “The abandonment rate is fairly high compared to the consumption rate.”

According to McIntyre, it is time for wearable gadgets to become innovative and give customers something they cannot generally find on their IPhones or Android cellphones.

“To deliver a compelling enough value proposition, the applications for wearable devices need to be unique from what smartphones generally give. Wearables producers need to engage consumers with incentives and gamification,” she stated.

As it is, the smartwatch adoption rate is barely 10 percent. However, fitness wearables have reached the early mainstream classification, hovering at 19 percent. Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus rift are now at 8 percent.

Most owners of fitness trackers and smartwatches opt to purchase their own. Thirty-four percent of fitness wearables are given as presents, while just 26 percent of smartwatches, such as Apple Watches, are presented.

Most users use their health monitoring gadgets all day, although not all love putting them on. Fitbits and other health monitoring devices are also more popular in the U.S. than in Australia. They are a tad more popular in Australia than they are in the U.K.

And appearance might also be part of the issue

Of those questioned by Gartner, 29 percent say fitness trackers are unsightly. Finding one that looks great might be pricey, said Mikako Kitagawa, senior research analyst at Gartner. “Fitness tracker covers and wristbands created by fashion labels are presented as higher-priced upgrades, which may be a barrier to purchase,” she noted.

The U.S. now is the top in actual smartwatch purchase rates, followed by the U.K and then Australia. A majority of owners are 44 years of age or younger, and more than half use their smartwatches on a regular basis.

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