Why it matters: It wasn't that long ago when smartwatches looked to be just another tech fad, but the devices are predicted to see a jump in popularity next year. According to a market research firm, one in ten Americans will be sporting one on their wrist in 2019, thanks to their LTE connectivity and new health features.
eMarketer predicts that around 28.7 million Americans aged 18 or over, or 11.1 percent of the population, will be using a smartwatch next year. The uptick has been put down to improvements in the devices’ design and functionality.
"Specifically, LTE connectivity will be a huge driver, as it allows smartwatch users to stay connected while leaving their phones behind,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu.
Smartwatches are behind the increase in the number of people using wearables, which is expected to rise by 9.2 percent to 61 million next year. The demographic showing the fastest adoption is Americans aged 55 and over—up 15 percent YoY.
eMarketer puts this popularity among older citizens down to the advanced health features found in many modern wearables. The Apple Watch 4 was singled out as one prime example, coming with an electrocardiogram (ECG) for detecting heart conditions while on the move, and a fall detection feature that automatically places an emergency call if it detects the wearer has fallen and isn’t moving.
With more smartwatches likely to start featuring ECGs and LTE connectivity, and the first wearables to feature Qualcomm’s power-efficient Snapdragon Wear 3100 now hitting the market, it looks as if the devices have finally left the “fad” label behind.