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The smart wearables market is growing older

Most smart wearable users in the US are between ages 18 and 44, but the fastest-growing audience is older.

  • Nearly a third of smart wearable users will be over 55 by 2026. In 2019, that cohort comprised just 15.9% of smart wearable users. In the next three years, users ages 45 and older will gain share; the older the demographic, the faster the growth.
  • The heart of the market is wearers in their 20s and 30s. Over 53% of smart wearable users in 2023 will be between 18 and 44. Even by 2026, a slight majority (50.4%) will be in that cohort. Although it’s losing market share, this group will expand from 47.6 million in 2023 to 50.6 million in 2026.
  • The 25-to-34-year-old cohort will have the highest penetration rate. We forecast that 42.7% of this demographic will own a smart wearable in 2023; that will grow to 45.4% within three years. Every age group will see higher penetration rates through 2026.

The penetration rate for the adult population overall will be 31.6% in 2023, leaving a lot of room for growth even in younger age groups. But the biggest opportunity for attracting new and more engaged users lies with older consumers.

Although growth in new users has slowed in recent years, Google’s renewed push into the wearables market, long dominated by Apple, may spur innovation and create new opportunities for apps and the marketers using them.