Jason Jacobs, the CEO and Founder of Runkeeper, thinks that fitness tracking devices are commodities. That’s why he is putting the focus on his company powering these devices with its software. However, Apple, Samsung and Google have not shied away from including health monitoring functionality into their mobile offerings. This market is not going to go away. There may not be much room to compete with large scale manufacturers as the actual devices increasingly become commoditized – on this point we agree with Mr. Jacobs – but there is still a growing market for the products. After all, they may just become check-off items on every mobile users list of accessories.
Worldwide revenues from sports, fitness, and activity tracking devices will grow by 46 percent between 2013 and 2019, according to a recent report from analyst group IHS Technology. The firm attributes growth to the increasing number of health-conscious consumers willing to buy heart rate monitors and other wearable devices.IHS pegs global OEM revenue at $1.9 billion in 2013, which will rise to $2.8 billion in 2019. In 2014 revenues will grow 22 percent to $2.2 billion.
IHS estimates that there were 84 million of these devices in the market last year, and the total number will top 120 million by 2019. “The market for traditional, dedicated sports, fitness and activity monitors will continues to thrive even amid the encroachment of smartphones and of multifunction wearable devices such as smart glasses,” Shane Walker, senior manager for medical devices and healthcare IT research at IHS predicted.
“There is continued demand for chest strap heart-rate monitors despite alternatives that make use of optical technologies, and sales of running computers with the global positioning system (GPS) are still climbing. Beyond consumer demand, sales of activity monitors will be stimulated over the long term by corporate wellness programs, and from healthcare providers who may use the devices as part of a prescription for their patients.”