misfit phase hybrid smartwatch
by Brian Lipton
misfit phase hybrid smartwatch
Image courtesy of Misfit

Sales of smart watches and other wearable devices are not growing as fast as expected, according to a recent survey by eMarketer. While the company previously predicted 60 percent growth in this category for this year, it will only grow 24.7 percent. In the end, only 39.5 million U.S. adults will use a wearable device (with internet connectivity) at least once a month,

According to eMarketer, the primary reasons that smart watches haven’t caught on in large numbers is because of their high price point and lack of definitive use case. “Before Apple launched its watch, fitness trackers dominated the wearables space, and consumer surveys consistently found that tracking health and fitness was the main reason people were interested in wearables,” said eMarketer analyst Nicole Perrin. “Without a clear use case for smart watches—which have more features than fitness trackers, but significant overlap with smartphone functionality—the more sophisticated, expensive devices have not caught on as quickly as expected.”

However, younger people have turned out to be the heaviest users of the devices, with 30 percent of adults between 18 and 34 predicted to be wearables users by the end of 2017, far higher than the 17.6 percent estimate for the overall population. “Younger adults are getting into the wearables market primarily with fitness trackers,” said Perrin. “The lower price point and clear use case make sense for this group.”

In addition, as fitness trackers begin to drive category growth, by 2018, more wearables users are predicted to be female than male.