Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Ocean bound

Garmin, better known for its running watches, has launched a watch aimed squarely at the sailing community. The MARQ Captain: American Magic Edition was developed in collaboration with the American Magic sailing team and comes with an array of features that every sailor will want to use... or at least will want to show that they could use. Maritime profiles, storm alerts, conditions back at the home base (port) and more all come packed into the watch, along with the usual ensemble of activity tracking features that Garmin is known for. Priced at roughly $2,000 this is a high-end device. But if you can afford to own and run a boat, this will be just a drop in the (ahem) ocean for you.

The NPD Take:

  • We are starting to see wearables focus beyond the obvious category of fitness. Most are concentrating on health care, but there are roughly 3 to 4 million people who sail in the US alone according to the US Census, providing a reasonable market opportunity.
  • Additionally, more than half of consumers who sail are aged 50 and over, according to the US Sailing Association and this is an age category that is still under-penetrated for smartwatches.

The Life Aquatic

Sticking with the aquatic theme, FORM, the maker of heads-up display swim goggles, announced that it is partnering with Garmin and Apple to support open water swimming stats. Until now, the goggles have been focused on swimming pool training as they lack key features such as GPS which means there’s no sense of distance swam once you move away from pool laps. By connecting the goggles to a Garmin or Apple watch, this problem is solved and that will be key to FORM as it looks to target a broader athletic audience, such as triathletes.

The NPD Take:

  • It is, without doubt, a niche market. But it’s an important one for FORM (I would argue that caring about your stats in a swimming pool is an even smaller niche) in order to broaden the appeal of its swim goggles.
  • What is intriguing about this solution is less the actual application of FORM plus Apple/Garmin and more the idea of combining different products together to provide the best possible solution for the consumer. Heads-up display in goggles and glasses is still a niche market, but the idea that – perhaps – the heads-up can simply act as a screen for other native apps is appealing (think Chromecast).
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