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1 in 8 Aussies could own a fitness band by end of 2016 as take-up snowballs among some sports participants

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January – December 2015, sample n = 15,367 Australians 14+

1.54 million Australians aged 14+ (8%) already own a personal fitness band or fitness tracker, and another 785,000 (4%) intend to buy themselves one in the next 12 months (plus another 50,000 or so buyers who already have one). If all these intenders do go out and get one, there’ll be around 2.3 million Australians (12%) sporting fitness bands by the end 2016.

Australians who regularly or occasionally participate in sports or physical activities are, naturally, more likely overall to already own (9%) or intend to buy (5%) a fitness band or tracker—but this take-up and intention varies widely across sports.

So far, the earliest adopters have been softballers and triathletes: 20% of each sport’s participants already own a fitness band, a rate 2.5 times the norm.  Other sports with high take-up among participants include squash (19%), marathons/running (18%), netball (17%), mountain biking (17%), field hockey (16%) and rock-climbing/abseiling (16%).  

Then there are the sports participants who are just a little bit behind the curve, but intend to buy a fitness band or tracker this year: 17% of gymnasts plan to get a fitness band soon, just ahead of the 16% of baseballers—who are perhaps following the lead of their under-arming counterparts.

However softballers aren’t done yet—and neither are squash and field hockey players. Despite their already high rates of fitness band ownership, 15% of softballers, 14% of squash players and 13% of field hockey players intend to buy one in the next 12 months. With the vast majority first-time owners, fitness bands may soon be on the wrists of around a third of softball and squash players.

Other sports and activities with high intention include dancing (13%), boxing (12%), and athletics/track and field (12%). 

% of participants who own or intend to buy a fitness band/tracker

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January – December 2015, sample n = 15,367 Australians 14+

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The total number of Australians with a fitness band or tracker looks set to increase by around 50% over the coming year. With any new technology, it can be a bit of a guess at the beginning as to whether something will hit the mark with a core user base, and from there really take off and excite the mass market. It’s therefore important to monitor adoption and intention from the outset from within the most niche consumer segments all the way up to the national population. 

“These results suggest there could well be a snowball effect happening among softball, squash and field hockey participants, with next-year intention set to increase the number of owners within each sport by 70 to 80%. As more teammates and competitors wear, use and talk about fitness bands (even if not necessarily while playing that particular sport), this drives intention among the others.

“This potential growth rate is well above that of around 50% among participants in more individual, non-competitive sports including marathons or running, mountain biking and rock-climbing. It therefore appears that a snowballing effect is more pronounced within team-based, competitive sports. Similar sports, but with older participants and lower adoption rates, such as lawn bowls, golf, tennis and cricket, may well become the next boom segments in future.

“Examining adoption and intention through the lenses of our Technology Adoption Segments and Sports Participation profiles would give fitness band manufacturers, advertisers and retailers a clear understanding of their target markets.”   

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2