With concrete release details of the Apple Watch now available, industry analysts, Futuresource Consulting, has been looking at how they will be received by the market and what impact Smartwatches, in general, will have on the traditional timepiece.
At CES, MWC 2015 and Apple’s Spring Forward event, there was a clear design drive to make smartwatches look more like traditional, analogue watches. Presumably that’s a conscious decision in order to entice those put off by all the tech and in the hope they will appear more accessible. LG and Huawei were some of the examples at MWC. The Huawei watch, for instance, gives consumers the choice of 40 dials on a 1.4" round Sapphire Crystal display.
However, from the other direction we can now see traditional watches adding basic mobile connectivity. Guess Watches, for instance, have partnered with Martian to produce a 'boldly designed smartwatch' which was a hit at the MWC. The Guess Connect straddles the ground between ‘full-on’ smartwatches and traditional watches with some very basic connected features.
In the absence of a single, killer application, says Futuresource, the manufacturers are throwing all the features from a smartphone in to the watches to see what sticks. This is having obvious effects on the size, aesthetics and the battery life of them. But, compared to other wearable solutions, smartwatches benefit from being generally unobtrusive, they have low barriers for consumer acceptance, are secure, and can be worn 24/7 in any location. The current focus is with roles such as health and fitness tracking, assisted living, mobile payments and interfacing with connected cars and smartphones.
Futuresource estimate that a little over 6.1 million smartwatches were sold in 2014, and they have a market tracker to smartwatch data to track the progress of these products over the coming years. With Apple's release of Apple Watch, the market is expected to accelerate rapidly.
Futuresource also expect the mid-range watch market ($100-$500 at retail) to be affected more than most - representing approximately one-third of watch volume sales. This is based on the price positioning of smartwatches in the current market, where Apple Watch is projected to be positioned together with competing watch brands such as Swatch, Fossil and Tissot.
Until yesterday’s Apple announcement, Smartwatches hadn’t been competing in the luxury end of the market, from Rolex upwards in price-terms (Brietling, Beume & Mercier, Breguet, etc), so it will be very interesting to see how some of their ‘Edition’ watches fare up against the traditional big boys.
We’re still not sure how this product sector will unfold but we’d love to hear your take on it in the comments section below. Will you be lucky at a Smartwatch to replace your current ticker or are you just happy to use your phone?
Source: Futuresource Consulting
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