PwC: Health concerns spur fitness wearable wave

Fitness devices are the leading wearable choice for consumers, though smartwatches are likely to take the top spot soon, according to a new PwC report.

Healthcare needs, especially among female consumers, are the main reason for adoption of such tools, and more than half of those polled are very likely to buy a fitness wearable in the next year, 

"Health-related information is top of mind for consumers: exercise, medical, dietary. Consumers are also excited about the prospect of their doctor's office, hospital, and/or health insurance provider releasing their own wearable device, more so than any other industry," the report's authors write.

The market outlook aligns with a recent report from research firm Tractica, which predicted a "flood" of devices, with worldwide shipments jumping from 2.5 million this year to 97.6 million units annually by 2021. Tractica also found that healthcare will be a top market focus for smart clothing and body sensor wearables.

In terms of adoption hurdles, the PwC report says that price and not privacy worries top that list. A second top obstacle is a consumer belief that they will not likely use the device.

That latter hurdle may be tied to what Argus Insight has called a "significant" gap between user satisfaction with wearable devices and satisfaction with accompanying apps.

Millennials are the leading wearables buyer, the report adds, and men are more likely to adopt smartwatches and smartglasses while women are more focused on wearables that improve health.

The survey notes 57 percent of those polled are "excited" about wearable tech use in daily life, a healthy increase from 41 percent in 2014, when the firm first polled consumers on wearables. At the time, PwC described wearables as dramatically changing society and business with a turning point "right around the corner."

"We have turned that corner," notes the new report. "The data--both from our survey as well as external data we've analyzed--shows clearly that the explosive growth in this space is all too real."

For more information:
- read the PwC report

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