Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Smartwatch on a budget

There’s a new entrant in the US smartwatch market. Letsfit, based in China, has launched a series of smartwatches that start at just $39 for a watch that looks rather like an Apple Watch (and is waterproof) up to a top-end price of $79.99 for the 215G Smartwatch, which looks more like a Samsung or Garmin that includes the usual bells and whistles such as heart rate, GPS, and blood oxygen saturation measurement. All the devices are available via Amazon.com.

The NPD Take:

  • We are going to start seeing a flood of low-priced smartwatches entering the market in the next 12 months or so. This will have a couple of key impacts: first, broadening consumer adoption of smartwatches and secondly, impacting demand for activity trackers. After all, if you can buy a smartwatch for $39.99 there’s not much room for an activity tracker.
  • Low-end smartwatch devices will put pressure on the mid-ranged smartwatch market. The higher-end devices such as Apple Watch, Samsung, Garmin and so on still clearly differentiate based on brand. Mid tiers devices don’t have that advantage and those OEMs need to watch their sales numbers carefully to for early signs of pricing pressure.

Watch hacking

Bored with the current array of hybrid watch/smartwatches and want to make something a little more unique? The OpenChronograph project sounds like just the place with instructions for how to replace the standard watch PCB (printed circuit board) with a programmable one. Once you’ve done that, the world is your metaphorical oyster, allowing you to custom make watch faces and more. 

The NPD Take:

  • Okay, admittedly this is not going to be a mainstream “thing” but smartwatch OEMs would do well to keep an eye on any interesting innovation and creativity that comes out of this group.

When I’m 64…

Apple is working with Johnson & Johnson to conduct a new heart study to find out if the Apple Watch can help to reduce the risk of strokes and prevent atrial fibrillation earlier. The study, which will include 150,000 participants over the age of 65, comes with a nice benefit for chosen users: the chance to buy an Apple Watch via Best Buy for just $49. Previous research has suggested that the Apple Watch can indeed help with these goals, but many participants in the previous study did not stay in the program until the end (churning of smartwatch use is still an issue for the category).

The NPD Take:

  • Apple hopes to cement its reputation as a maker of effective health technology. In deed Tim Cook as previously stated that he believed Apple’s “greatest contribution to mankind” would be in healthcare
  • Assuming that the results show a positive outcome, this research will help to drive more adoption of Apple’s Watch in the older age groups that are currently under-penetrated birth via individual consumer purchases, but also driving more acceptance of the watch via medical recommendations and health insurance companies.


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