The more a brand knows its customers, the more loyalty can be built by creating its products to meet their needs. Technology is now becoming a large part of various industries and recently it has been growing in the sports apparel industry. Instead of selling the traditional items such as shoes and workout clothes, many sport brands are adding apps to help the wearers to keep track of their activities.
From distance traveled, heart rate, steps, all the way to sleep patterns it seems that tech has taken a tight hold in the industry. The Nike+ app can keep track of distance and speed with an option to show the runner’s progress overtime compared to an earlier date. While this access currently needs third party hardware, such as an item on the wrist or hanging on the clothing, soon there might be sensors built into the companies items that accomplish the same.
Today’s Sports App Market Meets Current Demand
Matt Powell, the Vice President of the NPD Groups industry analysis of sports and outdoor marketplace stated, “Currently, the fitness tracking space is relatively primitive in terms of what it can measure, but as we move through time I suspect these devices will tell us a whole lot more things than how many steps we walked in a day.”
ABI Research estimated in 2013 that around half a billion wearable technology a year would be sold to consumers. The marketplace did not show such predictions with Gartner only reporting 232 million wearable items were sold in 2015, which is more than double the prediction from two years earlier.
Athletic apparel, such as it is with other companies, feel the need to embrace the digital age. Many believe that applications for data that is being gathered now will prove very valuable in the coming years as technology progresses.
Fitness industry brands usually require third party connections to create wearable technology. Such as the new release from Nike+ made by Apple not only can connect to fitness applications from other sport apparel companies as well as Garmin and Fitbit technology as well. This will allow data from previous exercises to be transferred, keeping the consumer from needing to start over.
As Apple and Google plan ahead with their technology, keeping with the current demand does not mean that they will not create new technology in the future. The current apps allow apparel companies to gather customer data on what future demands might arise. For example, if consumers begin to trend to another popular fitness activity such as kickboxing the invention of new items for that line of fitness can be developed.
Future Wearables To Reach $18.9 Billion
Powell also stated that “It would not surprise me if in five to 10 years we’re all wearing a device that’s measuring something, and what you’re measuring will be different than what I’m measuring.”
Wearable technology might not have taken off as great as it was first believed, there are some large numbers being reported by various companies. Such as the 28 million people that use Nike+, Garmin reports 15 million, and Fitbit showing 9 and a half million wearers.
Technology may progress past the need for fitness tracking devices, as a larger audience might be in the health trackers. Instead of monitoring the steps that are being taken, they may want to track information such as their sugar levels or even insulin levels. Frost & Sullivan recently has predicted that by 2020 healthcare tracking devices that are wearable would hit $18.9 billion dollars in the global market.