HAMPSHIRE, UK – A gradual change in direction for fitness wearables toward healthcare devices will lead to more than 75 million Americans using dedicated activity trackers by 2021, over double the current user base, according to Juniper Research.

This shift in focus will alter consumers’ perception of wearable trackers, making them seem more necessary, says the research firm. Vendors like Fitbit, Withings and Misfit are leading this change, making integration with medical databases a priority.

This will move the wearables battleground from consumer hardware to institutional partnerships and software integration. Players who are able to make their devices and systems part of healthcare practices will reap the largest rewards, Juniper Research says.

The form factor of devices has begun to vary, and the range of metrics they measure has increased in recent years. Heart rate and related metrics are becoming more common. This will accelerate the merging of the fitness and health wearable categories, which already have a degree of overlap.

In addition, nearly 25% of fitness trackers will be something other than a wristband by 2021. Despite the changes in shape and context, core functions will remain unchanged: to record activity and provide advice.


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