Fitness wearables are the ultimate guilt-tripper to get you off your duff and into some sunlight -- a slip of plastic and silicon on your wrist reminding you that maybe, just maybe, you should move around a little today.
And the wearable options these days are vast. Fitbit wasn't the first in the area, but it's now the market leader -- and its popularity is reflected in numerous incentive programs.
Much of its continued success has to do with its constant innovation. While Polar and Garmin staked their claim earlier, Fitbit introduced wireless data transfer. Recently, it added heartrate tracking via its PulsePoint technology.
And the market for fitness wearables is only quickening, according to forecasts by analyst firm eMarketer.
"A lot of corporate gifting initiatives with health and wellness wearable devices are attractive because they're pretty universal," said Matthew Osborn, president and CEO of Premco Associates. "There's a heightened awareness around it, particularly with millennials and health insurance costs on business."
But while Fitbit might be the market leader when it comes to tracking your athletic activities, but it's certainly not the only one available. Premco also sells Zepp, a fitness tracker with four products focused on baseball, tennis, golf, and softball.
Zepp attaches to a wearer's racket, bat, or golf glove and analyzes your swing, giving wearers data to improve their game. It records a wearer's swing and displays it in 3D, so athletes can see what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. Finally, it has Bluetooth connectivity, motion sensors, and social capabilities, which allow wearers to compare their swings with others using Zepp.
"It's a unique product with differentiation," Osborn said. "In an environment where everyone is looking for an advantage, Zepp is offering something that no one else offers."
Of course, if you want a more general fitness wearable but don't want to follow the herd with a Fitbit, there's also LifeTrak. It might not have Fitbit's popularity or brand recognition, said Curt Hayes, president and CFO of Capitol Sales, which sells both LifeTrak and Fitbit, but it still performs quite well. While it has the heart rate tracker and calorie counter that now seem to be table stakes, LifeTrak also lets its users store 12 months of data.
Despite the popularity of the fitness wearable space in general, however, it does suffer from a problem of longevity.
"The life cycle of products in the consumer electronics industry is on the short side," said Hayes. "Products get updated quickly." So there's real risk that today's super hot, feature-rich wearable could be obsolete within a year.