Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Name That Price

Last week was a week for wearable deals. Fitbit was offering a $50 discount on the Charge 4 tracker – down from the usual $150 price to $100 via the Fitbit website with a promo code. At the same time, Amazon was promoting the Apple Watch Series 6, normally $400, for $320.

The NPD Take:

  • Sales of wearables slumped in Q4, down 10 percent compared to Q4 2019, and the wearables manufacturers are looking to do what they can to increase sales. We saw a significant increase in smartwatch ownership as the pandemic to hold, partially driven by a spike in sales in Q2, but also driven by consumers pulling older devices back out of the discard pile to give them another chance. Manufacturers are betting that these consumers, now hopefully truly engaged with their old smartwatch, will be open to a compelling upgrade offer.
  • Fitbit is struggling to bridge the gap from tracker owners to smartwatch owners. Rather, many of these former Fitbit tracker users have migrated to the Apple Watch when they make the move to a full smartwatch. While Google develops a stronger migration strategy for Fitbit, it makes sense to tempt existing customers with an upgraded activity tracker to keep them loyal to the brand.

Will.I.Wear It?

Will.I.Am is back in the wearables market, this time with a state-of-the-art mask. The Black Eyed Peas front man has teamed up with Honeywell to create a rather large face mask that would look quite at home in a cyberpunk movie. The Xupermask comes with dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, as well as earphones with noise cancellation. At $299, it’s quite an investment, but hey, who knows how long we will need masks? The singer and serial innovator has previously tried his hand at a couple of smartwatch concepts, but with no real success. This time around, he’s no doubt hoping that the need for a mask will help pull consumers to his new creation.

The NPD Take:

  • It’s not the first techie mask, and I’m sure it won’t be the last to hit the market. But if you are going for techie, this does somewhat disappoint. Yes, it’s a HEPA filter (or two) and yes, it’s got the earphones. But seriously, where are the sensors telling you about air quality, or even a proximity alert if you are close to a COVID-positive person. I Gotta Feeling (sorry, I couldn’t resist) that this won’t be a big seller
  • That may be a little unfair, of course. But what we would really like Will.I.Am to do is focus on the glasses market and AR if he wants to dabble in tech. There’s more long-term potential in that market and he may just be thinking far enough outside the box (heck, I doubt he even acknowledges that there IS a box) to pull off an interesting solution.
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