6.1 million to have wearables in next year

October 10, 2014, 11:00 AM GMT+0

Wearable device penetration will more than double over the next year from 6% to 13%, new research from YouGov suggests.

The figures are from YouGov’s new wearables tracker research. It finds that currently 2.8 million people own a piece of wearable technology and by the end of the festive season there will be 4.7 million. This steady increase is set to continue over the next year and by September 2015 6.1 million are likely to own one of the devices.

YouGov finds that presently the largest category is currently fitness devices, with 3% of the population have a fitness band. Despite hype around recent launches, just 1% have a smart watch at the moment but this is likely to increase.

There are large differences between those who own the different devices. Three quarters (75%) of smart watch owners are male while fitness bands divide evenly along gender lines (51% male and 49% female). Similarly, smart watch owners are also more likely to be younger with four in ten (40%) of the devices being owned by 25-34 year-olds. This is in contrast to fitness band owners where 42% are over the age of 45.

There is also a clear dividing line when it comes to the purchase motivations of smart watch and fitness band owners. While fitness band owners buy the device as a functional piece of kit (64% get it to improve health and fitness and to track progress), smart watch owners’ principal motivation is to be an early adopter. More than a third (37%) of owners state that they want to keep up with newest devices in tech.

YouGov finds that a burgeoning market for the devices is emerging, with 13% of non-owners being keen on getting a wearable. Of this group nearly half (46%) expect to have one in a year’s time. Christmas will give the category a lift with over a quarter (26%) of prospects intending to get a device in the festive season.

Among those who plan to get one of the devices, four in ten (41%) intend to get a smart watch, just over a third (34%) want to get a fitness device, and 7% expect to get smart wear. This breakdown differs noticeably from the current market make-up where fitness devices far outnumber smartwatches and smart wear.

Russell Feldman, Director of Digital, Media and Technology at YouGov, says: “Wearable devices have been talked about as “the next big thing” in tech for a while now. Our figures suggest that the coming year is the time when the devices finally start to gain traction amongst a wider consumer audience. Crucial to this is the shift in the balance of the category from fitness bands to smart watches over the coming months. The Christmas period will mark the moment category finally moves the niche to the mainstream.”

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Picture from PA