ABI Research: Activity trackers more popular than smartwatches in Q1 2014

ABI Research numbers

Activity Trackers dominated sales of wearable devices in Q1 2014, outselling much-hyped smartwatches by 4 to 1. According to ABI Research, Fitbit remains the market leader, with a majority share, but will face more competition in the second quarter and over the course of the year, with Samsung Gear Fit likely to grow market share.

Activity Trackers dominated sales of wearable devices in Q1 2014, outselling smartwatches by 4 to 1.“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,” says senior practice director Nick Spencer. “End users have been happy to ditch their watches and use smartphones to tell the time, so extending smartphone functions to the watch is a weak use case and retrograde step.”

Smartwatch sales dropped significantly in Q1 2014 compared to Q4 2013, due in small part to the seasonal effect of Christmas, but largely due to the imminent launch of Samsung’s Gear smartwatches and Gear Fit activity tracker. The Samsung Gear dominated sales in the fourth quarter of last year.

However, ABI also noted that we shouldn’t dismiss smartwatches easily; they are quickly evolving and represent a nascent category. Notably, the hybrid activity tracker/smartwatches will affect the market, increasing the value proposition of the category.

Overall, the research firm expects 10 million activity trackers to be shipped in 2014 and 7 million smartwatches.