While expensive smartwatches are still failing to capture the average consumer, fitness trackers aren't doing too badly, especially since the majority of them falls in the $100 to $200 price range that most people deem acceptable to pay for a wearable. In a turn of events that isn't surprising in to witness in the consumer electronics industry, the falling productions costs, numerous technological advancements, and the rising number of manufacturers resulted in a rapidly growing and highly competitive industry. Built-in heart rate monitors were the latest trend among makers of fitness trackers and according to latest reports, they were a huge hit with consumers.
As revealed in the Connected Intelligence Wearables Industry Overview which was just published by the NPD Group, the inclusion of heart rate monitors in some fitness trackers was such a successful move for the industry that the average buyer is now expecting every wearable to have one. According to NPD's survey, only 12% of purchased activity trackers in Q2 2015 had heart rate tracking functionality but that percentage has almost quadrupled in the following 12 months and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Simply put, consumers find heart monitors useful and are willing to pay extra to get them. So, if every manufacturer starts including this feature into its products, where will the industry go from there? According to NPD, the answer is – GPS.
Namely, experts at the New York-based market research company claim that the wearable industry will soon start focusing on including GPS adapters mostly because Apple did so with the recently released Apple Watch 2. During the second quarter of this year, 7% of purchased fitness trackers were equipped with GPS and while the NPD group doesn't expect that percentage to grow as fast as the heart monitor one, it's still predicting a significant increase by this time next year. No specific numbers were mentioned but vague estimates suggest we may even start seeing mid-range activity trackers with GPS capabilities in 2017. Whether this prediction comes true or not remains to be seen but there's no doubt that the fitness tracker business will continue to rapidly evolve seeing how these gadgets are still selling well.