Wearable devices are at the top of the consumer market for connected health devices, according to a 2021 market research report released in January by Parks Associates. An excerpt from the published study shows that 55% of households with broadband internet own a connected health device, and wearables represent 37% of those devices. 

Smart Product Market Assessments also reveals that the adoption of smartwatches grew by 13 points between 2020 and 2021. Today, almost a third of households own at least one smartwatch. The appeal of smartwatches includes health and fitness tracking, connectivity and productivity tools, and safety features, such as alerts for high or abnormal heart rates. 

The Parks Associates research team used consumer, rather than industry-standard, definitions when conducting the comprehensive survey. Smartwatches encompass wearables that can download apps from an app store. Most fitness trackers can’t download apps and they don’t have a GPS. Finally, GPS sports watches — designed specifically for athletes and very active individuals — come equipped with an onboard GPS.

Researchers asked consumers about brands in each category, denoting the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy as smartwatches, Fitbit devices as fitness trackers, and Garmin, Suunto, and Polar as GPS sports watches.

The results show that 29% of US broadband households own smartwatches; these homes purchase the most connected health equipment, owning an average of 6.8 total devices, including their smartwatch. Twenty-three percent of all households own a fitness tracker, and 11% own a GPS sports watch. The most popular brand is the Apple Watch, followed by Fitbit, with Samsung coming in third.

The current report indicates a 13% increase in consumer connected health adoption, rising from 42% in 2020 to 55% in 2021. Ten thousand US broadband households participate in Parks Associates’ quarterly market assessments.