The NPD Group recently released the results from its first look into consumers’ digital tracking of their health & fitness activities. NPD’s "Digital Fitness Report," provides insights into consumers’ awareness, purchasing behavior, and usage of digital fitness devices as well as their awareness and usage of fitness websites and apps.
According to the report, consumer awareness of digital health and fitness products like heart rate monitors (91% awareness), sports watches with GPS (79%) and handheld mobile GPS devices (71%) is high, however ownership of the devices remains low. For example, just nine percent of consumers have ever used a heart rate monitor and nearly half (48%) of those who have used one borrowed it from a friend or family member, indicating reluctance on the part of consumers to purchase.
“Cost and availability of these products, obstacles we commonly see with nascent technologies, have likely held back early sales growth,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis, The NPD Group, Inc., “However, advances in sensor technology and connectivity combined with a renewed focus on health and fitness among consumers make it an opportune time for device manufacturers.”
When asked which product features are important in their decision to make a purchase, consumers most commonly cited access to music (47%) while simplicity of use (26%) and price (26%) were also listed. Nearly one in five (21%) said their fitness device should be able to connect to their computer.
Branded fitness apps, and websites too, are impacting the digital fitness market. Study participants report high familiarity with the Weight Watchers and myPlan Special K mobile applications as well as well as the JillianMichaels.com fitness site. Widely available pedometer applications had the highest level of consumer awareness.
“Websites and mobile applications have become an important component in exercise today as they help users easily track their progress through a regimen.” said Arnold. “Platforms that exist online or are accessible via mobile devices can help users both analyze their workouts and stay motivated along the way. Nike’s Fuelband is one example of a product that integrates device hardware with an online platform.”[Source: "Digital Fitness Report." The NPD Group. 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2012.]