Wearable Tech: the Top Fitness Trend for 2020
Thu, April 22, 2021

Wearable Tech: the Top Fitness Trend for 2020

Millions of Americans are using wearable technology to monitor their heart rate, exercises, step count, sleep quality, and calorie consumption. / Photo by: dolgachov via 123rf


More people in the US are using wearable technology to monitor their fitness and health, making it the top fitness trend for 2020. This is according to a recent survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Top Fitness Trend Next Year

ACSM’s research titled WorldWide survey of Fitness Trends for 2020 involves more than 3,000 fitness and health professionals. All of them believe that wearable tech is going to be the top trend in health and fitness next year and millions of Americans are already using the technology to monitor their heart rate, exercises, step count, sleep quality, and calorie consumption.

ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, who is also the lead author of the fitness survey and the current associate dean of Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development, said via American business news channel Fox Business that wearable technology has become “ingrained” in the culture. Furthermore, there are no signs that the wearable tech industry will slow down. Advances in technology have made it easier for people to gather significant health metrics and be able to work with health care providers and fitness professionals to develop a healthy lifestyle, enhance exercise efficiency, enhance the quality of life, and manage diseases.

The annual survey of the American College of Sports Medicine is already its 14th and Thompson believes that it is a foundation for the fitness and health industry to formulate and assess important business decisions by considering the growing and new trends happening in the market. The survey participants were offered a total of 38 trends they can choose from, including high-intensity interval training, group training, and lifestyle medicine.


Apple ships 5.7 million Apple Watches worldwide in the second quarter of 2019. / Photo by: prykhodov via 123rf


Worldwide Comparison

The survey was published together with another related survey, which involves a worldwide survey of fitness trends. It is a research that compared the top health and fitness-related trends in China, Europe, South America, and North America as part of the ACSM team’s effort to have a better understanding of the developments worldwide and all throughout different regions. Through such comparison, co-author Vanessa M. Kercher, Ph.D. said that they hope to improve the relevance, reach, and scope of the ACSM survey so that it can pave the way for international collaboration.

Kercher, who is also a clinical assistant professor at the Indiana University, went on to say that they are planning to continue to develop their international partnership with the vision of expanding and improving the methodology and implementation of their fitness trend survey. This way, they can also explore the differences and similarities to various international regions.

Recently, Forbes also how Apple Watch has been dominating the smartwatch industry based on the estimates of intelligent analysis platform Strategy Analytics. Its data show that Apple ships 5.7 million Apple Watches worldwide in the second quarter of 2019. But as Apple enjoys its incredible lead in the industry, it now has a real competition as Google has purchased FitBit for $2.1 billion. Fitbit is an American company that sells wireless-enabled wearable technology devices.

If Google will get its strategy right, its smartwatches operating system Wear OS could potentially be a worthy rival in the wearable, health, and fitness technology categories.

Wearables’ Impact on the Health and Wellness Industry

The impact of wearables is most profound in the health and wellness industry, John Koetsier of the Forbes said. As someone who has analyzed and forecast trends that affect the mobile ecosystem for years, Koetsier opined that wearables are affecting the industry that is now worth $4.2 trillion. The health and wellness industry encompasses activities that promote mental and physical well-being from healthy eating to yoga, beauty and personal care, weight loss and nutrition, spa retreats, meditation, wellness tourism, and workplace wellness as well.

Virtual assistants and wearable devices guide the personalization of health and wellness. Demand for apps that support the mental and emotional health of users, heart rate monitors, health and fitness trackers, and smartwatches have increased over the years. In 2018, multinational professional services company  Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) shared that out of the 49 percent of people in the US that own wearable technology, 70 percent of them use it to help them live longer, 62 percent said it helped them pay less in insurance premiums, and 63 percent said it helped them maintain a healthy weight.

Wearable Users and Market Penetration (2017 -2022)

Data and research company eMarketer likewise shared the number of adult wearable users and penetration in the US between 2017 and 2022 on a forecast. In 2017, there are 45.8 million adult wearable users (18.1 percent of the population) and it increased to 51.9 million (20.3 percent) in 2018. This year, there are 56.7 million users (22.0 percent) and is expected to increase in 2020 to 60.6 million (23.3 percent). Forecast for 2021 shows that there will be 63.9 million (24.3 percent) adult wearable users in the US and 67 million (25.3 percent) in 2022. eMarketer also believes that hearables will also experience growth beyond smartwatches.