More and more people are using fitness trackers according to the new research conducted by the Vitality Group.
“Wearable technologies ultimately only work if they’re used and we wanted to determine if the hype is justified,” said Alan Pollard, CEO of The Vitality Group. “Our data shows that when incorporated as part of a broader structured program, there was a measurable change in behavior. Those using devices when paired with incentives were more likely to reduce the prevalence of key risks such as BMI and cholesterol levels.”
Key findings include:
- Over the three years of the study, smartphone and pedometer use skyrocketed, while heart rate monitors and gym membership declined.
- Pedometers and activity trackers are more popular with the older demographic (more than 30% are 35-44) and smartphones show an expectedly younger audience (almost 65% are ages 18-34).
- A slightly larger percentage of women use pedometer/activity trackers (56%) and smartphone devices (51%), whereas heart rate monitors are more popular with men (52%).
- Within the Vitality wellness program, a high proportion of those who use devices are overweight or obese – 67% of people who use a pedometer or activity tracker are overweight, 62% of those who use a heart rate monitor, and 63% a smartphone.
- Members not previously engaged in fitness activities reduced their health risk factors by 13%, and members already active in fitness saw the greatest improvement, reducing their factors by 22%.
- Incentive structures built around daily step counts motivated members to reach thresholds.
According to the NPD Group, in 2013 – activity trackers generated an estimated $290 million in American retails sales.