Is Wearable Tech In Your Budget?

|
Includes: AAPL, FIT, FOSL, GRMN, MSFT, SNE, UA
by: Kapitall

By Mary-Lynn Cesar

apple Fitness trackers have dominated the wearable technology market for the past two years, but the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Watch's arrival in April 2015 has given smartwatches a serious boost. Apple debuted at second place on market research firm IDC's second-quarter Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the highest ranking for a smartwatch maker to date. Samsung (OTCMKTS: SSNLF), which released its Gear smartwatch back in 2014, came in fifth.

The Verge declared last Friday that smartwatches are going mainstream, noting that classic watchmaker Fossil (NASDAQ:FOSL) is expanding its connected wearable offerings to 100 products in 2016. Even fitness tracker maker Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) is embracing the smartwatch trend: at CES 2016, the company previewed its latest wearable, the Blaze fitness watch. At $200, the Blaze is comparable in price to Samsung's Gear 2 watches. It's also $150 cheaper than the least expensive Apple Watch model: the $350 Apple Watch Sport. Higher-end Apple Watch Edition models sell for $17,000 while the standard Apple Watch ranges from $550 to $1100.

Prices aside, it looks like The Verge is right. Smartwatches are growing in popularity and, as a result, are expected to play a big role in the adoption of wearable tech. IDC predicts that 34.3 million smartwatches will be sold around the world this year, up 61% from the 21.3 million expected in 2015. By 2019, the research firm expects to see 88.3 million units shipped worldwide. That doesn't spell the end for fitness trackers, though. Overall, the global wearable tech market is projected to increase 44.4% this year with 111.1 million shipped units - that figure will rise to 214.6 million by 2019.

Below is a list of stocks that are in the wearable tech market, specifically fitness tracker and smartwatch makers. To get a better sense of how some of the market sees the industry, we've included institutional investor ownership data for each stock.

Institutional investors are groups with large amounts of money, such as hedge funds, mutual funds and investment banks, that buy large quantities of stocks. These investors conduct in-depth research and are perceived to be more knowledgeable than the average investor, so when they buy or sell shares of companies, people tend to pay attention. Large purchases typically suggest that institutional investors are bullish towards a stock while large sales indicate that they are bearish.

On the plus side, each of these stocks is cheaper than most smartwatches and fitness trackers. Do you agree with institutional investors on these wearable tech stocks' prospects?

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time.

1. Apple Inc.: Designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. Market cap at $523.40B, most recent closing price at $99.99.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 85.1 million shares and sold 199.6 million shares, for a net purchase of -114.5 million shares. This means institutional ownership declined by 3.43%.

The two biggest holders of Apple shares are The Vanguard Group with 329.3 million shares (5.94% of outstanding shares) and State Street Corporation with 217.2 million shares (3.92% of outstanding shares).

2. Fitbit Inc.: Manufactures and provides wearable fitness-tracking devices worldwide. Market cap at $3.40B, most recent closing price at $16.77.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 21.5 million shares and sold 10.1 million shares, for a net purchase of 11.5 million shares. This means institutional ownership grew by 45.42%.

The two biggest holders of Fitbit shares are Ameriprise Financial with 9.4 million shares (22.41% of outstanding shares) and Qualcomm Incorporated with 3.2 million shares (7.66% of outstanding shares).

3. Fossil Group Inc.: Designs, develops, markets, and distributes fashion accessories worldwide. Market cap at $1.51B, most recent closing price at $31.36.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 8.4 million shares and sold 7.2 million shares, for a net purchase of 1.2 million shares. This means institutional ownership grew by 2.44%.

The two biggest holders of Fossil shares are Vulcan Value Partners with 8.7 million shares (18.02% of outstanding shares) and The Vanguard Group with 3.3 million shares (6.95% of outstanding shares).

4. Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN): Operates as a holding company and through its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets global positioning system (GPS) enabled products and other navigation, communication, and information products worldwide. Market cap at $6.43B, most recent closing price at $33.84.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 8.9 million shares and sold 14.4 million shares, for a net purchase of -5.5 million shares. This means institutional ownership declined by 7.35%.

The two biggest holders of Garmin shares are The Vanguard Group with 9.4 million shares (4.52% of outstanding shares) and State Street Corporation with 5.5 million shares (2.63% of outstanding shares).

5. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Market cap at $412.97B, most recent closing price at $52.17.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 249 million shares and sold 248.9 million shares, for a net purchase of 55,600 shares.

This means institutional ownership essentially remained flat. The two biggest holders of Microsoft shares are The Vanguard Group with 464.6 million shares (5.82% of outstanding shares) and Capital World Investors with 363.6 million shares (4.55% of outstanding shares).

6. Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE): Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional, and industrial markets worldwide. Market cap at $26.69B, most recent closing price at $21.23.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 6.2 million shares and sold 15.3 million shares, for a net purchase of -9.2 million shares. This means institutional ownership declined by 9.03%.

The two biggest holders of Sony shares are Primecap Management Company with 44.2 million shares (3.51% of outstanding shares) and Gamco Investors with 6.1 million shares (0.48% of outstanding shares).

7. Under Armour Inc. (NYSE:UA): Designs, develops, markets, and distributes a range of apparel and accessories using synthetic microfiber fabrications around the world. Market cap at $14.98B, most recent closing price at $67.36.

As of September 30, 2015, institutional investors purchased 13.1 million shares and sold 11.6 million shares, for a net purchase of 1.5 million shares. This means institutional ownership grew by 1.11%.

The two biggest holders of Under Armour shares are The Vanguard Group with 15.6 million shares (8.11% of outstanding shares) and Gamco Investors with 13.9 million shares (7.73% of outstanding shares).

(Monthly return data sourced from Zacks Investment Research. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity. All other data sourced from FINVIZ.)