NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 4, 2016) - The inaugural release of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Wearable service reveals that, as of March 2016, more than one in ten consumers in the US own either a fitness band or smartwatch (12.2%), nearly double the penetration in the EU4 (6.6%). Europe's big four markets include Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy.

Fitness bands dominate the US market, with three out of four "wrist wearable" devices owned falling in this category.

"For both smartwatch and fitness band buyers -- brand, ease of use, and functionality are the top drivers of purchase, outweighing both design and cost," said Shannon Conway, wearable tech analyst for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Fitbit established itself as an early market leader, capturing 61.7% of the US installed base by communicating a clear and simple value proposition to consumers. Apple accounts for 6.8% of the total number of fitness bands and smartwatches owned in the US."

Despite smartwatch vendors promoting more advanced health and fitness capabilities, fitness bands have yet to show signs of wavering popularity among recent US-based owners. Gifting plays a larger role for the less expensive fitness bands, 43.1% vs. 33.3% for smartwatches in the US. But, smartwatches are well-positioned to threaten timepiece watches, with 31.9% of all smartwatches and 43% of Apple Watches replacing a traditional watch.

"Market penetration in the EU4 stands at a comparatively low 6.6% of survey respondents owning smartwatches. This differs significantly from the US, where 22.9% of respondents own smartwatches, which comprises 55.2% of all wearable devices." said Lauren Guenveur, mobile analyst for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Of the combined fitness band and smartwatch base, Fitbit remains the most-owned brand at 18.5%, but Apple and Samsung follow closely with 14% and 11.6%, respectively."

In EU4, the battle with traditional watches intensifies, with 39% of all smartwatches purchased to replace a timepiece, increasing to 49.6% among Apple and 41.5% for Samsung. In EU4, GB most closely mirrors the US market, with a slight majority of fitness trackers (54.3%) over smartwatches (45.7%).

"Our first smartwatch data set reflects a relatively low level of market penetration -- not unexpected for what is still a young category," Conway added. "In our next quarterly Wearables report in August, we will be adding some new elements, including data on whether non-owners of smartwatches intend to purchase one of these devices in the future. We expect that this will give us some interesting indications about where the wearables market is headed."

The Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Quarterly Wearables Report is available via the Kantar Worldpanel News Centre:

Wearable Penetration (%)
Market March 2016
United States 12.2%
EU4 6.6%
Great Britain 7.9%
Germany 5.4%
France 4.6%
Italy 10.3%
Australia 12.7%
Japan 3.7%

About Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Wearable Data
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Wearable data provides the media and businesses with access to the most up-to-date ownership and market share figures for the top wrist-worn wearable manufacturers. This information is based on research extracted from the Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer panel. ComTech is the largest continuous consumer research / mobile phone tracking panel of its kind in the world, conducting over one million interviews per year in Europe alone. ComTech has expanded upon its well-known mobile phone service to cover smartwatch and fitness band behaviour -- including purchases, source of purchase, usage, and non-owner intention. It also delivers additional data to promote an understanding of the attitudes toward the wearable market, drivers of purchase, and consumer-insight market dynamics. All consumer data in this release excludes enterprise sales.

About Kantar Worldpanel
Kantar Worldpanel is the global expert in shoppers' behavior. Through continuous monitoring, advanced analytics, and tailored solutions, Kantar Worldpanel inspires successful decisions by brand owners, retailers, market analysts, and government organizations globally. With over 60 years' experience, a team of 3,500, and services covering 60 countries directly or through partners, Kantar Worldpanel turns purchase behavior into competitive advantage in markets as diverse as FMCG, impulse products, fashion, baby, telecommunications and entertainment, among many others. Kantar Worldpanel is part of the Kantar Group, one of the world's largest insight, information, and consultancy networks. The Kantar Group is the data investment management division of WPP.

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About Kantar
Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP, and one of the world's largest insight, information, and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 12 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Kantar's 27,000 employees work across 100 countries and the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to deliver business insights from every point of the consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune 500 companies.

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