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Juniper: Fitness trackers & smartwatches set to converge

A new report from the folks over at Juniper Research highlights that the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets are quickly converging, so much so that in the not too distant future it will simply be branding that defines the difference rather than the actual functionality of the device.

AJuniper Research 1ccording to Juniper: “The Gear Fit and several other more recent models of fitness wearable like the Fitbit Charge HR and Surge, as well as the Razer Nabu, offer notification services for calls and texts as well as fitness-based functions, giving the ability, in some cases, to answer calls from the wrist. This is due to the miniaturisation of components enabling their insertion into devices with minimal impact on their aesthetic. Depending on the parent brand, this allows devices either to be a positioned as watch with fitness tracking capability, or a fitness tracker with notification capability, even if the underlying functionality is ultimately identical.”

The argument from the research firm is that this convergence is happening in no small part because the use case for smartwatches is still not clear, so while the tracker market has gradually adding functions like notifications, so the difference between the two is becoming harder and harder to spot! As the research firm put it in its whitepaper:

Juniper Research logo“This has a knock-on effect on price expectations. More than 50%t of those not looking to buy do not want to pay more than $99 for a wearable, while on average even those inclined to purchase do not want to pay more than $175. The current price and limited functions are deterring those who might consider buying a wearable. Consumers buying the devices are probably doing so because they like technology, rather than for any other reason.”

We’ll wait to see if these two device areas fully converge – I have to say that I don’t think they will completely – but one thing is for sure, they’re already overlapping and this is making for fierce competition and (hopefully) will mean even better devices too.

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