Chinese consumers are especially very active: 45 percent of the respondents said they currently use such devices. Germany ranks fourth at 28 percent behind Brazil and the US (both 29%) and ahead of France at 26 percent. The Netherlands are at the bottom of the list, with only 13 percent of respondents saying they digitally monitor or track physical functions for health or fitness purposes.
In most countries studied, men are ahead of women in this activity, but five countries stand out as having a higher percentage of their female than their male online population currently tracking their health and fitness in this way: China (48 percent of women, compared to 43 percent of the men), Russia (21 percent of women and 17 percent of men), France (27 percent and 25 percent), Australia (20 percent and 18 percent), and Canada (20 percent and 19 percent).
Differences in age groups
Looking at age, it is those aged 30-39 and 20-29 years old that are most keen on tracking their health and fitness – standing at 41 percent and 39 percent of each age group respectively. However, teenagers (15-19 year olds) and the 20-29 year olds both show almost a quarter of their numbers saying that, while they do not currently monitor their health or fitness in this way, they have done so in the past. This suggests potential for bringing this significant number of ‘past users’ back into the market, given the right offers or messages by retailers or manufacturers.
Reasons for tracking health or fitness
55 percent of those who are currently tracking their health and fitness said one of the reasons they do it is “to maintain or improve my physical condition or fitness” – making this the most popular reason internationally. The next most widespread reason is motivating themselves to exercise, selected by half (50 percent) of those currently tracking.
Why are people tracking or monitoring their health or fitness?
- To maintain or improve physical condition/fitness 55%
- To motivate myself to exercise 50%
- To improve my energy level 35%
- To motivate myself to eat and drink healthily 34%
- To improve sleep 29%
- Because it’s part of my daily routine 29%
- To lose weight 29%
- To be more productive 24%
- Because it’s fun 22%
- To monitor or track a specific health condition 17%
- To train for an event (race, sport, etc.) 14%
- To compete with other people 8%
Several of the reasons given by those currently tracking health or fitness are a reminder that users of these trackers value them for benefits that are not exclusive to the world of sports. Over a third give “to improve my energy levels” or “to motivate myself to eat and drink healthily” as a reason for tracking their health or fitness, while 29 percent say “to improve sleep” and a quarter say “to be more productive”. In addition, 22 percent say “because it’s fun”. Only 14 percent of those currently tracking their health or fitness say they are doing it “to train for an event.”
Jan Wassmann, global lead for wearables research at GfK, comments on the findings of the report, “This shows the attraction that health and fitness monitoring has within much wider groups than just the obvious young sports players. Manufacturers and retailers can use these insights – combined with our point-of-sales data on purchases of wearable devices – to understand who are their real-life users and why, and tailor their products to deepen that appeal.”