Wearable Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Showing your colors

Apple has launched an array of new Watch straps for spring 2022, just as it has in previous years. There are new Solo Loop bands ($49) - the stretchy rubber loops – in Mineral Green, Eucalyptus and Nectarine, as well as a braided Solo Loops ($99) in Flamingo and Bright Green. In addition, the classic sports bands ($49) gain Blue Fog, Bright Green and Lemon Zest and there are also a couple of two-tone nylon sports loops. 

The NPD Take:

  • The bands are a key part of Apple’s watch strategy, ensuring that what you wear remains “fresh” and adaptable to your other fashion choices (and, of course, helps bring in additional revenue from a one-time hardware sale).
  • Style is an important factor for consumers when choosing a smartwatch, with 28% of consumers choosing a smartwatch over an activity tracker because they consider smartwatches more stylish. Conversely, 19% choose a tracker over a smartwatch for the very same reason, highlighting that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.
  • And 18% of consumers who have yet to buy a smartwatch or an activity tracker say it’s because they prefer their traditional watch. So, the more Apple – and others – can do the keep the smartwatch looking stylish, the more growth they may see.

OnePlus to try again?

Last year saw OnePlus launch its first – much-anticipated – smartwatch. Which, to put it politely, bombed. Despite an aggressive price point of around $160, the smartwatch suffered from a less than exciting range of features, not to mention the fact that many appeared to be buggy and incomplete. Rumor has it (according to tech tipster Yogesh Brar) OnePlus is planning to launch a budget device in India in the sub-$100 range. While there is no word if such a device will make it to the US, it would be a clear indication that the company has not given up on the watch category, suggesting future devices could come.

The NPD Take:

  • The Android side of the smartwatch market is tricky and a low price is not necessarily the biggest driver. Trust in the brand is key (one reason why both Apple and Samsung do so well) and OnePlus’ current phone base is not large enough to create a significant brand awareness.
  • OnePlus is expected to launch a new smartphone in the next month or so. If the company launched a smartwatch at the same time and bundled the two together it may drive future interest. As such, a sub $100 watch (assuming it is compelling with its feature array) that is effectively given away with the smartphone could create a stronger brand loyalty in the long term.
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