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The wearables market is currently a center of hype and interest across the varied landscape of consumers, vendors, providers, payers, and other stakeholders interested in the broader digital health market. Companies are trying to better understand consumer habits, exploring device monetization outside of the early adopting fitness crowd, increasing engagement of health professionals and interpreting technology progression and integration in mobile health as well as the broader practice of medicine. The wearables market sits at an interesting nexus within the broader ecosystem of digital health markets, residing as both remote monitoring and mobile health. The following piece discusses consumer wearables data on frequency of use, and reasons stopping use of activity trackers, as well as analyst identified companies targeting pediatric and animal health wearable devices.
In early 2014, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 300 consumers for a quick snapshot regarding current issues in wearables (Wearables: Snapshot of Consumer Sentiments on Activity Tracking Devices, NE08-48). Our research found that the majority of women and men are occasional activity tracker users with varying product interests and goals (Exhibit 2). Some users may find that it is not always convenient, or in some cases stylish, to wear a bulky, brightly-colored rubber bracelet at the office or out to dinner (Tara Shelton, author of this article, would be one example).
Companies such as FitBit are addressing the increasing demand for more stylish products by partnering with fashion mogul Tory Burch to design new products. According to our research, the actual motive behind activity tracker fickleness varies, but the data in (Exhibit 3) suggests that there is a statistically significant difference in reasoning between genders. While the majority of women respondents stopped using the tracker due to the loss of fitness goals, the majority of men respondents lost product interest as data entry was too arduous. While the findings can spark an entire new debate on gender differences, one thing is clear, both respondents were casual users who tended to be young, affluent, and, in most cases, self-interested.
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