If number of comments is any indication of how many of my readers workout or care about tracking their daily activity, then you would think no one uses these devices. However, according to the latest Canalys report, 1.6 million smart bands shipped in the second half of 2013 with over 17 million forecast to ship in 2014.
Canalys breaks down the wearable band market into basic (life activity trackers) and smart (smartwatches), although devices like the Fitbit Force have functionality of both and could be consider smart bands.
Fibit dominated the basic bands category with over 50 percent market share in the second half of 2013. Surprisingly, Samsung was the leader during this time in the smart band category with the Galaxy Gear available to consumers. If the Galaxy Gear was $100 to $150 less I think it would sell well, but $300 is a tough pill to swallow for a device with limited battery life and connectivity limitations.
Canalys predicts that the smart band segment will reach 8 million shipments in 2014. Pebble just launched their new Pebble Steel and the rumors of an Apple play into the health arena continue. Canalys states that Android will enter the market soon so that Google Now watch may also be coming at Google I/O or some other event.
Now that Pebble has an appstore I am keeping my eye out for a Fitbit app that converges my activity tracker and my smartwatch into a single device. I think we will see a convergence of the basic and smart functions on the wrist in 2014 with battery life being one of the hurdles to leap.
Note that the report provides shipment numbers and not the number of items actually purchased so there could be plenty of stock sitting on store shelves and in warehouses. I have seen quite a few people with Fitbits, Fuelbands, and Pebbles on their wrists though and wearables were heavily promoted at CES 2014 last month.