A new survey predicts that by the end of next year, 25% of United States residents will use wearable devices. The forecast from eMarketer paints a bright future for wearables, including an increase in users to 63.7 million people in 2016, a 61% jump over 2015. By 2019, the survey predicts that a third of the U.S. population will wear these devices at least once a month.
Currently, the highest percentage of internet users with wearable devices (25.1%) are between 25 and 34 years of age, followed by 35-44 year olds and 18-24 year olds. By 2018, half of 25-34 year old internet users are expected to wear these products. Because of the emergence of wearable health monitoring devices, users 65 and older are expected to see the biggest growth rates through the end of the decade.
Prior to this year, a greater percentage of female internet users than males wore wearable technology. But eMarketer forecasts that will reverse in 2015 (19.3% male internet users to 18.2% females) due to the increasing popularity of smartwatches. By 2017 however, a greater percentage of female internet users to male users (34.1% to 33.9%) will use wearables because “the decreasing price of wearables will play a key role in driving more women to buy them,” according to the survey.
Despite the future growth of the wearable category, eMarketer says growth rates won’t match the launch rates of smart phones and tablets due to the price-sensitive nature of consumers and their inability to see a big enough value in wearable tech.
"The consensus among the experts we consulted was that advertising will not appear in volume on wearables until one or more of the devices attains significant market share, which makes sense considering scale is a critical aspect of digital advertising," says eMarketer Senior Analyst Cathy Boyle.