Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Walk with me

Apple has expanded its Fitness+ service to incorporate walking. How, one may ask, do you add walking to a service that has previously had you glued to the big screen to sweat with others? Apparently, you throw in your Airpods and listen to Dolly Parton, Shawn Mendes and others as they, too, go for a walk. Yes, it’s essentially a podcast, but one that promises to offer an interesting curation of “guests” over time.

The NPD Take:

  • Is it worth subscribing to Apple Fitness+ for? Probably not on its own. But as an expansion of the service to cover a wider range of fitness opportunities it’s a smart move. Yes, there is nothing particularly unique about it – it is essentially a podcast – but providing more services and features within one application will be popular with the wide range of Apple Watch consumers
  • There are still a large number of people who own a fitness tracker. Over time, these consumers will consider a smartwatch as their next replacement. And what is the most popular form of exercise for tracker owners? Walking to get those steps in.

One for the ladies?

Garmin has launched a new smartwatch – Lily – that the company claims is designed by women, for women. For sure, the watch is smaller, with a circular design that is 34.5mm diameter (by context, the smallest Apple Watch is 40mm by 34mm). The screen is touch sensitive with a patterned background and has most of the usual features, mainly focused on fitness and wellness including steps, workouts, sleep, stress, blood oxygen saturation, menstrual cycles and pregnancies. What it doesn’t have, surprisingly, is GPS (or offline music) which seems like quite a tradeoff for a watch from Garmin.

The NPD Take:

  • Do women need (or want) a specific watch designed for them (that is not made by Apple)? They might. There is a significant disparity between smartwatch ownership levels for men and women (8 percentage points in Fall 2020) and size of the watch is clearly going to be one concern.
  • The lack of GPS is surprising as Garmin is often associated with runners and cyclists. However, these active consumers are clearly not the market for this watch. Rather, it’s another case of upgrading consumers from their old fitness tracker into a smartwatch. As we noted in our spotlight there has been resurgence of use for old, previously discarded, trackers and smartwatches during the pandemic. These consumers provide a strong target for driving upgrades to the current range of smartwatches.
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