Consumer interest in fitness, health projected to spur robust smartwatch sales

The health and fitness device market is expected to hit $1.8 billion this year, reflecting an 18 percent growth rate compared to last year, according to Consumer Technology Association (CTA) research.

The CTA's report found that 35 percent of American adults likely to buy health and fitness technology in the next 12 months will choose a smartwatch.

"Consumers see the potential for benefits from sharing health and fitness data with friends, family and medical professionals and they expect privacy to be balanced with those benefits," CTA notes in an announcement.

Fitness focused apps, wearable fitness activity trackers, smart apparel and sleep trackers are the next popular purchases behind smartwatch purchases, according to CTA.

The research reveals consumers believe such devices can drive greater success in achieving personal fitness and health goals and tracking progress, Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for CTA, says in the announcement.

Consumers aren't the only ones taking advantage of smartwatches; the tools also are being used at healthcare institutions across the country. Scientists from University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California are embarking on a $6 million research effort to use smartphones and smartwatches to help young asthma sufferers improve their health. In addition, researchers at Southern Methodist University and the University of Maryland are collaborating on a wearable device to help pediatric asthma patients monitor and track pollen levels, carbon dioxide in blood and physical activity.

The CTA report notes that 61 percent of fitness technology users are most interested in monitoring calories, followed by tracking their heart rates, steps walked, walking distance and blood pressure. Device choice is most influenced by a friend or family member recommendation, followed by Internet-based insight, a medical practitioner recommendation, employer wellness program support and in-store sales personnel.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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