Wearables Still Far from Mass Adoption

Less than 20% of the US population will use one next year

Smart speakers will likely beat out wearable devices as the electronic gift of choice this holiday season. Even the introduction of several new smartwatches to the market this year has done little to reinvigorate demand for wearables.

According to eMarketer’s latest forecast, the number of adult wearable users in the US will grow 11.9% in 2018. This comes one year after eMarketer significantly downgraded its projections for wearable usage.

“Consumers have yet to find a reason to justify the cost of a smartwatch, which can sometimes cost as much as a smartphone,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu. “Instead, for this holiday season, we expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points.”

Next year, eMarketer expects 50.1 million US adults will use some type of wearable device* at least once a month, representing 19.6% of the population. Wearable usage will continue to grow over the forecast period, but the rate will slow to single digits beginning in 2019.

“Any growth that we will see in wearable users will primarily come from new users of smartwatches,” said Liu. “However, the wearables market overall is still dominated by health and fitness trackers. We really haven’t seen a wearable device become the next must-have item. Until then, growth will remain conservative.”

In its first breakout of smartwatch users, eMarketer projects the number of US adult smartwatch users will reach 21.8 million in 2018, up 24.8% over 2017. More men tend to use smartwatches, while more women use fitness trackers.