NPD Releases Digital Fitness Report

Consumers are highly aware of digital health and fitness products, but may be reluctant to shell out for them, according to a new study from Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group.

Ninety-one percent of respondents surveyed last November said they were aware of heart-rate monitors. However, only 9 percent of consumers said they had ever used one, and almost half (48 percent) of that number had borrowed the one they used.

“Cost and availability of these products — obstacles we commonly see with nascent technologies — have likely held back early sales growth,” Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis for NPD, said in a release. “However, advances in sensor technology and connectivity, combined with a renewed focus on health and fitness among consumers, make it an opportune time for device manufacturers.”

Survey respondents ranked access to music (47 percent), simplicity of use and price (26 percent each) and computer connectivity (21 percent) as the most important factors in making a fitness tracking device purchase.

Also showing high levels of consumer awareness were online platforms and applications that track progress through a given fitness program. “Platforms that exist online or are accessible via mobile devices can help users both analyze their workouts and stay motivated along the way,” Arnold said.