While much of the tech industry is counting down the seconds for future smartwatch releases from Apple and Google, new data from ABI research suggests smartwatches might not really be the top of new wearable tech. Instead the Fitness band holds that title, outselling smartwatches 4-1 in 2014.
Brands like Fitbit, Garmin, Nike and Jawbone have all found success selling fitness bands and other activity-tracking devices, the research firm reports.
“Activity Trackers are currently the most viable consumer electronics wearable device category, because they have a clear use case that cannot be matched by smartphones, in contrast to smartwatches,” says ABI senior practice director Nick Spencer.
Telling time on someone’s wrist doesn’t make the smartwatch stand out enough from a smartphone. Without a unique hook, users are “happy to ditch their watches and use smartphones to tell time,” Spencer says.
Furthermore, on the whole wearable tech spectrum, smartwatches are on the low side, even in theory. When asked which kinds of wearable tech people would consider buying, smartwatches measure below fitness bands and health monitors, beating out only eyeglass gadgets like Google Glass, according to data from research firm Accenture.
Still, Spencer said, “We shouldn’t dismiss smartwatches, which are evolving and, if you believe in reincarnation, a nascent category.”