Report: Fitness tracker market to shrink in 2015 ahead of smart garments boom

The fitness tracking wristband market will shrink in the coming year before being replaced by the growing smart garments sector, a new study has suggested.

According to the latest report by analyst firm Gartner, smart wristbands such as the Jawbone UP24 and the Nike FuelBand SE will dive in popularity during 2015 as consumers move to more all-purpose smartwatch devices like the Samsung Gear S or LG G Watch R.

The fitness market could well see a resurgence in 2016, however, with smart garments such as activity tracking t-shirts set hit the mainstream market.

According to the independent research, smart wristbands will drop from 70 million units in 2014 to 68.1 million devices throughout 2015.

The Gartner report has suggested “this temporary dip in sales will be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, other wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches.

“Smartwatches having retail prices of $149 or more will typically have the capability to track activity and have accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to their smart wristband cousins,” Angela McIntyre, Gartner’s Research Director said.

She added: “The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication. However, some smart wristbands have the ability to display and send text messages. The overlap in functionality between smart wristbands and smartwatches is expected to continue.”

While these wrist-based similarities are set to continue, it is believed the emergence of even less invasive devices – namely smart garments – could once again shake up the blossoming wearables space.

“The smart garment product category has the greatest potential for growth going forward because the category is emerging from the testing phase and smart shirts are available to athletes and coaches of professional teams,” the report added.

“Smart garment shipments are forecast to grow from 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016.”

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