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Most People in the US Still Don’t Use Wearables

Wearables, once the hot tech gadget, have cooled off in demand amid growing interest in smart speakers, according to one research firm.

Despite products like the Apple Watch, only 20 percent of the US population will use a wearable next year, eMarketer said in a report last week.

Sales for wearables, which include fitness trackers, will grow, but at a slow pace. Starting in 2019, wearable usage will only increase year-over-year by single digits, the research firm said.

Part of the problem is that smartwatches can be too expensive, some times starting at around $300. In addition, no wearable device has become a must-have item like a smartphone, eMarketer said. This all suggests wearables have a ways to go to gaining mass market adoption in the US.

“Instead, for this holiday season, we expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points,” eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu said in a statement.

Sales on Amazon are already supporting these findings. On Tuesday, the company said its Echo Dot, which goes for $29.99, was its number one selling product during the holiday season.

But even as customer demand for wearables is waning, the smartwatch category itself is still showing signs of life.

Annual smartwatch shipments across the world will more than double over the next five years, according to research firm IDC. By 2021, they’ll reach 150 million units, up from the estimated 61.5 million expected to ship out this year.

Driving the growth will be new vendors, such as fashion brands, that want to tap smartwatch sales. However, demand for fitness bands will stagnate.

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