London — The U.S is No. 1 when it comes to wearables adoption compared with its European counterparts, and purchase intent is rising, Futuresource Consulting found in a consumer survey.
The penetration rate of wearables in the U.S. was 14 percent as of October. A total of 8.7 percent of U.S. adults owned a fitness tracker, 4.4 percent owned a heart-rate monitor, and 4.8 percent own a smart watch. In the U.K., France and Germany combined, the percentages were 3.6 percent, 3.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively (see chart below).
Across all four countries, interest in purchasing is growing. The percentage of respondents intending to purchase wearable devices in the next 12 months rose from 10 percent in May to 16 percent in October.
Interest in smart watches increased the most, with 9 percent expressing an interest to buy compared with 4 percent in May. Interest in fitness trackers grew to 6 percent from 4 percent, and interest in heart-rate monitors was flat at 3 percent. Interest in smart glasses also remained flat at 3 percent.
Interest in wearables has grown mainly because of interest from iPhone owners, the survey found. “iPhone owners now lead the way in all categories — particularly in smartwatches, which 17 percent of iPhone owners expressed intent to purchase in the next 12 months, up from only 6 percent in May 2014,” Futuresource said.
The increase coincides with Apple’s Apple Watch announcement in September. Apple customers are typically some of the earliest adopters of new technologies, and “their increasing engagement with the smartwatch category is a strong positive for the Apple Watch release in early 2015.”
Overall, the percentage of iPhone owners interested in buying a wearable hit 29 percent in October compared with 13 percent among other smartphone owners.
The wearables market has grown worldwide in 2014, with Futuresource forecasting full-year sales of more than 51 million units worldwide. The business will accelerate in 2015 as new brands enter the market, the company added.