Wearable awareness on the rise as industry boom forecast

New data suggests adoption rates are increasing for trackers and smartwatches
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Consumer awareness in wearable tech is on the rise, according to research firm NPD Group, with a report in AdWeek stating 74% of US consumers are familiar with activity trackers with 81% knowing about smartwatches.

Turning that awareness into sales is the main sticking point for wearable tech brands, with ownership rates at just 11% for activity trackers and a measly 3% for smartwatches.

Essential reading: The top smartwatches to buy

However, data from industry analysts IDC suggests there will be 72.1 million wearable tech devices shipped this year; up 173.3% from the 26.4 million in 2014.

Back to the NPD metrics and the AdWeek report suggests that fitness trackers have evolved into a new product category - not one aimed at athletes looking for detailed statistics, but regular folk looking to shift a bit of weight.

"We can expect to see new products emerge that are better focused on the athlete again, driven by the likes of Under Armour," explained Eddie Hold, VP of connected intelligence at the NPD Group.

Under Armour, of course, is on board with the HTC Grip activity tracker, which is set to launch later this year.

Essential reading: Why Under Armour is now a fitness tech powerhouse

We also reported last week how budget fitness trackers such as the $15 Xiaomi Mi Band are gaining in popularity, with Fitbit's huge market share being eaten into by the Chinese export.

This argument is supported by IDC's forecasts. "The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third party apps, has been absolutely astounding," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC. "Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015."


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