US smartwatch ownership is set to increase some 60% by the end of next year according to a new report.
The study surveyed 5,000 US adults on a panel conducted by NPD Group. Results show that nearly 9% of participants in the study owned a smartwatch as of June 2017. This was up around 1.5% since the start of the year.
Real growth, however, is ahead of us, owing to a spate of expected new devices, new features and capabilities. By the end of 2018, 15% of Americans will have a smartwatch strapped to their wrist.
“When smartphones first came on the scene, people came out with outrageous predictions in terms of growth,” Weston Henderek, director, of NPD’s Connected Intelligence, told Marketing Daily.
“They didn’t live up to the initial hype. We’ve seen that happen with a lot of new tech products that didn’t start strong, but have built up since.”
Males account for 60% ownership, NPD says. More surprisingly, it seems that smartwatch ownership is highest among the lowest income category, those making less than $45,000 a year. The main reasons for purchasing a smartwatch are notifications (54%), activity tracking (45%) and news updates (31%).
Email was cited as a reason for purchase by only 25% of the viewers, GPS navigation 19%, remote control for music 18% and home automation 17%. This is expected to change and some categories, such as home automation, are expected to increase in importance in the coming years.
One area that could give a boost to growth are smartwatches with built-in cell functionality. This allows users to leave their smartphones behind and still remain connected. Apple’s upcoming third generation watch is rumoured to have a cellular connection.
“A lot of smartwatches are still reliant on the smartphones, and they’re duplicating functionality,” Henderek says.
“But if you have a device that has built-in connectivity, there are more possibilities.”
The smartwatch has not been a runaway success as some have predicted, but it certainly has a bright future to look forward to.
*featured image source: Flickr (no changes made)