High Prices Becoming Issue for Fitness Wearables and Smartwatches

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Usually, after a house and a vehicle, furniture is the third-most expensive item a person will buy during their lifetime. Of course, that’s starting to change in the digital era, now that smartphones and laptops have become so essential. And while furniture items like sofas can typically last up to 15 years, the latest tablet or smartphone will be obsolete in two to three years.

Technological advancements are leading to an increase in consumer spending across virtually all industries, but these smart devices come with significant high costs. In particular, the high price tag that comes with fitness trackers and smartwatches is starting to turn off many consumers. Across the board, wearable technology devices are being developed, marketed, and distributed at prices higher than ever before.

In general, smartwatches and Fitbit-style fitness trackers are now much too expensive for the majority of people.

According to The Motley Fool, the most expensive wearable device in 2016 was the Apple Watch Series 2 Edition, retailing for $1,299.

“Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, research director for Gartner. “The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate.”

Readwrite reports that Gartner’s survey shows that nearly one-third of smartwatch or fitness tracker owners end up abandoning the technology after a brief flirtation with wearables.
So what’s the solution?

McIntyre’s idea is for these companies to improve their marketing approach, the products themselves, and make the prices much more affordable.

“To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide,” McIntyre added. “Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.”

Many of these wearable items would be great gift ideas, but are just too expensive for the average person to afford, so gift givers inevitably look elsewhere. Only 34% of fitness wearables were given as gifts, and Apple Watches are gifted at an even lower rate of 26%.

Despite the high prices and skepticism surrounding the future of these products, the market is still relatively successful and could significantly grow if some of these issues are resolved. Currently, the U.S. is the leader in global smartwatch and fitness wearable purchasing rates, followed by the U.K. and then Australia. More than half of all users actually use their devices on a daily basis, and a large share of the owners are under the age of 45 years old.

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