Why we get bored with fitness trackers and smartwatches

Angus Kidman 8 December 2016 NEWS

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Almost a third of them get abandoned after purchase.

So Fitbit, the dominant brand in fitness trackers, has just acquired Pebble, one of the pioneers in smartwatches. Consolidation is no surprise in this sector, because it turns out for most people, using a fitness tracker is a fad and a smartwatch is an irrelevance.

Research by Gartner highlights our levels of disinterest. In a survey of 9,592 people, just 10% had bought a smartwatch, and just 19% had a fitness tracker. In Australia, the numbers were even lower for smartwatches, with just a 7% take-up.

What was even more striking was that in the group of people who had acquired one, 29% of smartwatch owners and 30% of fitness tracker users ended up abandoning them. What were their reasons for abandoning them?

Here's the breakdown for fitness trackers:

Why did you stop using a fitness tracker?
I got bored with using it19%
It got lost or broken15%
I realised it wasn't useful to me15%
Data tracking wasn't accurate9%
I replaced it with another device9%
It was uncomfortable to wear8%
Constant quantification freaked me out6%
It didn't help me achieve health goals5%
Constantly having to charge was annoying5%
I didn't like the design2%
Other reason6%

And here are the issues for smartwatches:

Why did you stop using a smartwatch?
I realised it wasn't useful to me19%
I got bored with using it16%
It got lost or broken13%
Constantly having to charge was annoying10%
It was uncomfortable to wear10%
I replaced it with another device9%
I didn't like the design5%
Constant quantification freaked me out4%
It didn't help me achieve health goals4%
Data tracking wasn't accurate4%
Other reason6%

Some of those issues (like inaccurate tracking or rubbish battery life) could potentially be solved if the technology improves. However, the fact that so many people simply decide that the devices aren't useful or necessary suggests that there's a more fundamental issue at play. Good luck, Fitbit.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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