Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Xiaomi expands

Xiaomi is no stranger to the smartwatch market having launched several over the last few year. But with its latest launch, the company is finally pushing watches to the international market. The Mi Watch covers pretty much every fitness type imaginable, with 117 varieties, and comes with the usual features – GPS, waterproof and so on – as well as the latest and greatest such as blood oxygen tracking. The device also support Amazon Alexa integration which will help Amazon to expand its ecosystem footprint further. Priced at EU99, the watch is going to sell well. 

The NPD Take:

  • There’s no published pricing for the US market which suggested Xiaomi is expanding one continent at a time, but with the Amazon Alexa integration it would not be surprising to see the device launch over here shortly.
  • We’ve often suggested that the smartwatch market is bifurcating into a low end and top tier pricing strategy. Xiaomi’ s new watch puts significant pressure on the low end.

Garmin goes square

Most of our recent coverage of Garmin has focused on the company’s high end approach, with specialist devices aimed at the golfing or sailing communities. But the company has now launched another budget-friendly device – the Venu Sq – which seems to be focused squarely (pardon the pun) at the new Apple Watch SE. The new Garmin watch sports a square face (hence the “sq” in the name and my poor attempt at a pun) and is a paired down version of last year’s Garmin Venu (which was aimed at the Apple Watch 5). As with previous Garmin’s, the new Venu Sq comes with all-day health monitoring, Pulse Ox to track your blood oxygen (the new “must have feature for all wearables), stress and menstrual cycle tracking and more. The only obvious compromises in this new Sq version are the lack of a compass and barometric altimeter. Pricing starts at $199.

The NPD Take:

  • Garmin plays an interesting role in the wearables market. Its core is clearly the fitness person as Garmin has a strong reputation among cyclists and runners. But this market is under pressure from Apple and Garmin needs to continue to broaden its appeal to a less active base. Obviously this is far from Garmin’s first step in this direction, but the lower price and Apple Watch-like square face may help drive the appeal.


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