Continue Reading Below
The research firm initially estimated that the number of wearable owners in the US would grow by more than 60 percent in 2016, but its latest forecast is only 24.7 percent growth. The problem? Despite enthusiasm from early adopters, wearable manufacturers have failed to convince consumers that their products are worth buying, according to eMarketer.
The report estimates that nearly 40 million US adults use an Internet-connected wearable device at least once a month, a far cry from the 63.7 million previously forecast. Unsurprisingly for a new tech trend, wearables are most popular among young adults, with about 30 percent of people aged 18 to 34 using one, compared to 17 percent of the overall population.
That youth trend overlaps with another trend IDC spotted back in September: basic, cheap wearables are flying off shelves and online shopping carts faster than buzzworthy high-end devices like the Apple Watch. Sales of basic wearables—those that don't support third-party apps—grew 48.8 percent from the same quarter last year, according to IDC, while smart wearables declined 27.2 percent year over year.
"Younger adults are getting into the wearables market primarily with fitness trackers," eMarketer forecasting analyst Monica Peart said in a statement. "The lower price point and clear use case make sense for this group."
But even analysts admit that forecasting trends in a nascent industry like wearables isn't an exact science. We're also approaching two of the biggest annual events for unveilings of the latest marvels for the wrist—the Consumer Electronics Show in January and Mobile World Congress in February. So if you're in the market for a fitness tracker or smartwatch, stay tuned.