Who will win the battle for your wrist? Smartwatches or fitness trackers?
I have started to wear a fitness tracker since 2008. My first tracker was the Fitbit Classic, a small and teal device that I used to clip to my pants. My fitness tracker then moved to my right wrist with the iconic Nike Fuelband. I also occasionally wore a Jawbone Up, but always preferred the Fuelband. Today, I sport an Apple Watch on my left wrist and a Xiaomi Mi Band on my right wrist (mainly for testing purpose). To my surprise, I love them both and use them differently.
Smartwatches and fitness trackers are in many ways very similar, but the markets for those two categories of wearables are fundamentally different. Fitness trackers seem already ubiquitous and are focus on one specific use case, while smartwatches still have to create a defined use case. A device like the Apple Watch, for example, is trying to be a little bit of everything for everyone.
Not surprisingly, the wearable space right now already looks like a two horse race with Fitbit and Apple, reflecting the battle between fitness trackers and smartwatches. Projections by the NPD Group show that by the end of 2016, 30 million will own activity trackers and 20 million will own smartwatches. Below is a statistical breakdown of fitness trackers vs. smartwatches. I believe that there will be a place for both in the market.