Connected fitness trackers to double by 2019

Global revenue of connected fitness trackers will rise from last year's more than $2 billion to $5.4 billion by 2019, according to a new study, "Digitally Fit: Products and Services for Connected Consumers," conducted by research firm Parks Associates.

The top devices being switched on by consumers are digital pedometers featuring wireless connectivity. The most popular connected fitness equipment used by providers in the healthcare and exercise industry are tools featuring built-in app support, notes the study.

The growth illustrates increasing consumer demand for mHealth devices for tracking and monitoring everything from steps walked and miles run to vital signs such as heart rate and respiration. That means device makers need to be cognizant of various users' needs and wants, Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at Parks Associates, in says in an announcement.

The report also reveals how employers view mHealth devices in light of wellness programs, with more than one quarter providing an incentive to members willing to engage such devices. 

"Corporate discount is quite common, but the corporate world is still evaluating these devices' health benefit claims," Wang told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email interview. "Employers are evaluating the effectiveness of their entire wellness programs including devices, applications and services, instead of taking a siloed view of each component as in the past."

Wang describes the smart health device market as "steadily advancing" and "improving in functionality."

"I see two major challenges ahead. One is to get the broader consumer segments involved in using devices, particularly among those with high health risks but strong resistance to behavior changes. The second revolves around data use from these devices and whether it can provide the intelligence to people so they can experience the positive outcome, which in turn motivates them to stay on goals," he says.

The market report comes as devices are flooding the shelves and consumers are expecting greater capabilities. A recent Tractica report predicts smartwatches and fitness trackers will lead the global wearable device market as it expands from 17 million shipments in 2013 to 187.2 million by 2020.

Americans are grabbing up mHealth tools for tracking illness symptoms to diet and nutrition data, reports a recent Makovsky Health/Kelton survey, which notes 52 percent of heart patients would use mHealth for tracking sleeping behavior.

For more information:
- read the announcement