Consumer interest in purchasing dedicated wearable fitness devices in the next 12 months quadrupled to 13 percent in 2013, from just 3 percent in 2012, making it the largest year-over-year increase for any category of fitness device, according to a report by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
These devices experienced the largest gain in purchase intent (10 percentage points) compared to 2012, more than quadrupling from 3 percent in 2012.
Pedometers remain the most popular fitness technology owned by consumers (37 percent), followed by fitness video games (26 percent) and portable blood pressure monitors (21 percent). There were no declines in consumer ownership of any tracked category of fitness technology products this year.
Among consumers who indicate they plan to purchase a fitness technology product within the next year, the most desired products are dedicated wearable fitness devices, fitness apps, fitness video games and calories trackers, all at 13 percent.
The report found owners of dedicated wearable fitness devices and sleep trackers are most likely to use their products on a daily basis (47 percent) compared to other fitness technology products.
The most important features found in the burgeoning smart watch market among potential buyers were fitness-focused, including health monitoring (91 percent), peak performance monitoring (90 percent) and providing workout routines (82 percent).
"CEA projects that the market for dedicated wearable fitness devices like body monitors and pedometers will continue to expand for the foreseeable future as more consumers become aware of these devices and an array of new products enter the market," Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst with CEA, said in a statement.
Potential buyers of fitness technology devices expressed the most interest in capabilities such as tracking statistics like heart rate (95 percent), calories burned (94 percent) and steps taken (92 percent).
Three-quarters of online U.S. consumers (75 percent) now say they own a fitness technology product, up from 61 percent in 2012, and the report also noted there were no declines in consumer ownership of any tracked category of fitness technology products this year.
The top three reasons people gave for using their wearable fitness devices include motivation (52 percent), monitoring fitness goal progress (47 percent) and monitoring physical activity levels or intensity (46 percent).
"Fitness technology owners indicate they are seeing personal progress in their overall health and/or on specific goals, such as losing weight or lowering blood pressure, using their devices as much or even more than they originally expected," Tillmann said. "Not only are these fitness technology products catching on in the marketplace and experiencing strong growth in sales, consumers indicate they are experiencing positive results as well."