For college stores dabbling in wearable technology, fitness trackers are the way to go. More than 2.3 million trackers were shipped in the first quarter of 2014 and more than 10 million will be shipped by the end of the year, according to ABI Research.
“Activity trackers are currently the most viable consumer electronics wearable-device category, because they have a clear use case that cannot be matched by smartphones, in contrast to smartwatches,” Nick Spencer, ABI senior practice director, said in a Campus Technology report.
College students are a big part of the fitness-tracker market. Campuses have spent millions on new unions that often include state-of-the-art fitness facilities. Tracker prices are also affordable for the college-age demographic.
In addition, the market for smartwatches is not nearly as robust, with just 510,000 being shipped in the first quarter of 2014. Despite those numbers, collegiate retailers may want to keep up on the smartwatch market.
“Smartwatches will develop rapidly in 2014 and 2015, with hybrid activity trackers/smartwatches soon to hit the market, more specialized components being developed, and most importantly the use case improving through a growing applications ecosystem,” Spencer said. “As the value proposition of smartwatches increases, however, the price will still need to decrease to balance with end-user expectations.”