Pew: 21% of U.S. adults regularly use smartwatches or fitness trackers

About one in five U.S. adults (21 percent) said they regularly wear smartwatches or wearable fitness trackers, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 3-17 last year. Twenty-one percent of Americans say they use smartwatches or fitness trackers like many other forms of digital technology, and the use of these devices can vary greatly from socio-economic factors.

Pew: 21% of U.S. adults regularly use smartwatches or fitness trackers

About 31 percent of households with an annual household income of $75,000 or more said they regularly wear smartwatches or fitness trackers, compared with 12 percent of households earning less than $30,000 a year. According to a survey of 4,272 U.S. adults, differences in education follow a similar pattern, with college graduates using these devices at a higher rate than those with a secondary or lower education.

The differences between gender, race and race are small. Women were more likely than men to say they used these devices regularly (25 percent vs. 18 percent). Hispanic adults are more likely than whites to wear a fitness tracker on a regular basis (26 percent vs. 20%, compared with about 23% of black adults.

Fitness trackers can compile data about the wearer’s activities based on the complexity of the device. Users can monitor this data using the appropriate application, where they can manually enter additional information about themselves and their lifestyle. As a result, manufacturers of fitness trackers accumulate large amounts of data on their users that can be used in a variety of ways. The current privacy policy for many fitness tracking apps allows users’ data to be shared with others. Some researchers are already using the data in these applications for health research.

Recently, there have been some concerns about who can and should access this health data. Military analysts also expressed concern about how third parties are using the data to locate U.S. military bases.

Pew: 21% of U.S. adults regularly use smartwatches or fitness trackers

There is no clear consensus on whether the public agrees to share fitness tracker information with medical researchers. According to the survey, about 41 percent of Americans favor using fitness tracker data for heart research, arguing that manufacturers of fitness trackers can share user data with medical researchers who want to better understand the link between exercise and heart disease, while 35 percent say it is unacceptable. Another 22 per cent were unsure whether this was acceptable.

Whites (39 percent) were more likely to think they could nissa than blacks (31 percent) or Hispanics (26 percent). At the same time, 47 percent of adults under the age of 50 thought it was acceptable to share such data with researchers, compared with 35 percent of adults over 50.

In addition, Americans who use fitness trackers are more likely to support sharing data from these devices with health researchers than Americans who don’t use fitness trackers. About half of fitness tracker users (53 percent) said it was acceptable, compared with 38 percent who didn’t.