Everything marketers need to know about fitness apps and wearables.

Emily Marchak 02/16/16 - 4:42 pm


Remember when wearing a pedometer was cool? Me too, and I’m a Millennial.

Pedometers may be a thing of the past, but the idea behind them is not. In fact, it was just the beginning. Today’s wearables come in all shapes and sizes, and can be attached to just about anywhere there’s a pulse. Not to mention, they’re insanely popular. Here’s the what, who and why behind wearables.

What is a wearable?
A wearable refers to the technologies or electronic systems that are incorporated within an article of clothing or accessory. They come in the form of bracelets, bands, socks, headbands, clothing clip-ons, shirts and glasses. Most are made out of materials that stand up to extreme temperatures, sweat, sunlight and some are even waterproof. (I said some–so read the labels).

Fitness apps are similar in their function but are downloaded right to your smartphone. Some wearables can even sync to mobile apps, and can be used in tandem.

What do they do?
Wearables and fitness apps track and monitor all sorts of things. Calories, miles walked, steps taken, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, temperature and even sleep patterns. And it’s not just tracking your physical health but your mental health too. With some wearables you can track stress, anxiety, and alertness.

The bottom line is they track your body’s biometrics and personal activity, day and night.

Who uses them?
All generations. From Matures to Gen We, there’s a wearable for every audience. According to eMarketer, in 2015, 39.5 million U.S. adults 18 and over used wearables, including smart watches and fitness trackers.

Wearables are most popular among those aged 25 to 44. eMarketer also reported that many consumers plan to purchase a health and fitness device within the next 12 months. When asked, consumers are particularly interested in smart watches, fitness apps, wearable devices, smart apparel and sleep trackers.

Why do people like them?
There are several reasons why audiences are attracted to wearables, mobile fitness and health apps. But, according to CEB Iconoculture research, one underlying theme is mindfulness. This macro trend is a value that involves each generation. From Boomers and Gen Xers, to Millennials and even Gen We, there’s no doubt each cohort greatly values their health and well-being. Audiences who are goal-oriented, self-actualizing and tech-forward seek out wearables to aid in their health initiatives. Other reasons for their popularity include:

  • Wearables are sophisticated. They offer real-time, goal-oriented digital feedback wherever you are. Whether you are a fitness junkie or casual exerciser, wearables and apps are designed to document how you move.
  • Wearables are immediate. Most are also connected to mobile apps on your smartphone and offer active coaching and immediate metrics. Users can go in and look at comprehensive dashboards, enter weight and height–even how many hours you sleep and how many grams of protein you eat.
  • Wearables challenge and motivate you. We all have health goals and wearables/mobile apps help you watch them become reality. Need 10 more miles to complete your in-app challenge? Want to monitor how your foot is engaging with the pavement to hone how you run? You better believe there is technology for that.

What does this mean for the health care industry?
Wearables are instantaneous. They keep you informed and notify you when you hit that mile, complete a challenge, and when your heart rate changes. Consumers are taking charge and control of their health. They are active. They know their blood pressure, heart rate, etc. Doctors can expect a well-informed, active patient during their next visit. Retailers can expect consumers to want more metrics and devices.

What apps or wearables do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

Blog Category: Digital Healthcare Mobile

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