Wearables Week In Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Get out and run (for less)

Garmin’s Forerunner 35 GPS briefly dropped to $100 at Best Buy this past week, a reduction of $20 from the usual price. It’s not the lowest the watch has been (that would be $90) but still, it’s a significant discount for a product that is already within the lower tier of connected sports watches. Apart from the obvious fitness tracking capabilities, the Forerunner 35 also provides smartphone notifications, can allow you to control your phones music and has a battery life of up to nine days (13 hours in training mode). In the same week, we also saw Best Buy promoting the Apple Watch Series 5 for a $50 discount, which is far from usual activity for an Apple device.

The NPD Take:

  • Smartwatch sales, along with many other categories, are falling rapidly in these COVID-19-dominated days. With most consumers stuck at home there is perhaps less desire to track your training stats. Having said that, outdoor running is a great excuse to escape the home and promotional pricing could help stop the category from dropping too low in terms of sales.
  • Expect more promotional pricing for smartwatches in the coming month as various manufacturers look to shore up their falling sales, and perhaps make the most of the opportunity to persuade more people to exercise. The most effective deals will be ones that provide a free subscription to services such as Freeletics, that provide training regimes without weights or gym equipment.

Work out with Apple?

We are months away from Apple’s potential launch of a next gen Watch (Series 6) but the rumors are already swirling. Some are pretty obvious – such as more health-related features – but one that intrigues us is the idea that Apple may launch a new fitness app. According to MacRumors, the company is developing a standalone app. This new app would be different from the Activity app that tracks your progress. Rather this one would offer guided workouts for a range of activities such as running, strength training and more.

The NPD Take:

  • We are (nearly) all stuck at home and looking for ways to balance couch-potato status with the occasional burst of fitness activity. Launching an app that ties neatly into the Watch, so you can follow guided workouts and the Watch knows what type of activity you did (weights, burpees, jumping jacks and so on) would take fitness tracking to a new and improved level.
  • Such an app could have two major impacts on the market. Firstly, assuming it is implemented well, an Apple app could crater the third-party fitness app market. Why buy a third party one when there’s an Apple version that is perfect for your Watch? Secondly, it helps to further differentiate the Watch from other serious sporting devices (Garmin, for example) putting more pressure on the competitive OEMs.
Report Sections