A recent report from Gartner predicts that in 2015, half of the consumers who are considering a fitness band will choose to buy a smartwatch instead. Part of their reasoning is that the feature set for smartwatches is overlapping those of traditional fitness bands, and users will want a single device that does more.
We’ve seen similar market trajectories in the past. For example, there was a time when personal data assistants (PDAs), GPS navigation systems, and digital cameras were popular devices alongside cell phones. The smartphones of today, however, have incorporated those functions (and in many ways surpassed them), causing a rapid decline in the dedicated device markets.
Gartner is predicting a similar dip in the unit sales for wearable fitness devices in 2015, though they are also forecasting a recovery in sales for 2016. This growth will be driven largely by the arrival of affordable wearable fitness clothing that has sensors built in. These in turn will report to your smartphone (or possibly your smartwatch) so that the data can be collected, stored, and uploaded to the cloud for analysis and reporting. As a result, we may have already witnessed the boom in fitness bands, and the future of these products is that they will merge with the smartwatch category going forward.