Consumer wearable market report bodes well for the Apple Watch

The wearables market in the U.S. from 2014 through the first half of 2015 has shown fast growth in year-over-year volume of consumer feedback. Hhowever after peaking post-holidays in January 2015, demand growth has slowed significantly, according to a new report from Argus Insights. However, things look good for the Apple Watch.

Over the last 18 months, the wearables market has started to mature and has grown considerably with new players entering the market with numerous products such as fitness bands, smartwatches, smart glasses, and other sensor-enabled devices, according to the research group. Using data compiled from approximately 328,000 consumer reviews since January 2014, the Argus Insights report reveals that after the holiday season of 2013, consumers briefly lost interest in wearables before steadily increasing demand reached its high point in January of this year where it was four times the level of a year earlier.  Since then demand has slowed. 

According to the report, the Apple Watch stole consumer interest from Fitbit and other wearables at the time of its announcement in September 2014, as potential buyers waited to determine whether they wanted the Apple Watch. Interest in Fitbit devices resumed and grew once the Apple Watch details were announced, as Fitbit and other wearable manufacturers saw a strong 2014 holiday period, according to Argus. Since their IPO, Fitbit has continued to gain mindshare with consumers.

Consumer delight, measured from the volume and the content of consumer reviews, showed that Fitbit was achieving a very high level of buzz, though the satisfaction of their consumers is dropping while Apple is "quickly gaining in delight," says John Feland, CEO and founder, Argus Insights. Other surprising insights include high consumer delight scores for smartwatch manufacturers Motorola and LG, as consumers are reporting more satisfaction from smartwatches than from fitness bands..

“Our analysis of review volume for the wearables market correlates directly with unit sales volume, and we have seen a significant slowing in consumer demand for both wearables in general and fitness bands in particular,” says Feland. “Consumers expect their wearables to do more than simply count steps, just as they expect to do more than just make phone calls with their handsets.  It is clear that as the Apple Watch ,the Moto 360, and the LG Watch Urbane out perform fitness bands in the hearts of consumers. Fitbit and others in this category will need to add more to their offerings to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more.”