GfK: 420,000 wearables worth £51m sold in the UK this year


Health and fitness trackers lead with 39 per cent share, but research says despite growing sales, wearables are a long way from becoming mass market 

GfK has revealed that 420,000 smart wearable products were sold in the UK from January to September at a value of £51 million.

However, the research firm said that although sales are growing, wearables are a long way from becoming mass market.


The table (pictured right) shows sales, volume, average price and share of the market for each type of wearable for the nine month period in the UK this year.

In a survey of 1,000 smartphone owners in the UK, China, South Korea, and Germany that took place online in August, 28 per cent of consumers said cost is the most important element when buying an activity tracker.

GfK said that although the market has attracted manufacturers from a range of sectors including sports, luxury watches, jewellery and fashion, 47 per cent of UK consumers prefer to buy an activity tracker from a well-known technology company.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) said they would wear clothes or jewellery with integrated activity trackers with bracelets (33 per cent) and shoes (26 per cent) the most popular overall.

Men are more interested in connected clothes – t-shirts, shoes and belts, while females prefer jewellery – necklaces, bracelets and rings.

GfK added that as we get to grips with the range of things that can be connected, from fridges to safety systems in cars, Smart TVs to payment systems, it’s evident there is so much more that wearables can offer to make people’s lives easier.

In the UK, 38 per cent expect to be able to control the TV and 34 per cent a sound system from a device worn on their wrist. Thirty six per cent said they were interested in home control, with a third (33 per cent) attracted to car control.

GfK director Anne Giulianotti said: “There is no question wearable activity trackers have caught on – but with a small percentage of the population. Other wearables don’t have much market penetration at the moment, yet the functionality does.

“This research suggests there is a bit of disconnect. Manufacturers need to think about educating consumers not only about wearables, but about the possibilities of the smart home and smart car – as well as all the other options from The Internet of Things – if they are to convince people that the functionality offered is worthy of the price.”