Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Oura updates its ring

Oura, the smart ring of choice for many people, has crammed more tech into the device, adding improved heart rate and body temperature tracking. These are key features as one of Oura’s core use case is tracking health, and early detection of potential illness (such as COVID) via its body temperature tracking.

The NPD Take:

  • These are definitely great additional features that strengthen Oura’s proposition but – and yes, there is a “but” – we are skeptical of Oura’s ability to significantly expand its market share with incremental health features. The challenge is that everything Oura can do can also be done with a smartwatch, so the target audience is limited to those people who do not want to wear a smartwatch, but who are prepared to wear a relatively chunky ring.
  • The lack of a screen (well, duh, it’s a ring!) is somewhat of an issue as there is no glanceable information. Rather, the wearer needs to use the smartwatch app to see the results. We suspect, over time, that consumers spend less time taking that extra step, leading to more churn.

Citizen goes hybrid

Citizen has launched a hybrid smartwatch – the CZ Smart – that combines the style of a traditional watch with the underlying functionality of a smartwatch. Well, sort of. Obviously, any hybrid watch is going to be more limited in what it can offer in terms of “smarts”, especially as it is based on Citizen’s own OS rather than Wear. Having said that, for consumers in the market for a more traditional look and feel, Citizen has a reasonable solution here that can provide all the usual features such as advanced activity tracking, sleep monitoring and so on, thanks to a heart rate monitor and accelerometer.

The NPD Take:

  • We’re a little torn here: on the one hand we don’t see a major opportunity for hybrid watches as the smartwatch market offers such a compelling range of features – and there are a wide range of designs available. On the other hand, not everyone needs all those features and offering just enough functionality in a tradition Citizen look and feel will appeal to a segment of the market. And a 15 day battery life will be appealing.
  • Let’s consider this watch as key to filling out Citizen’s portfolio, rather than as a flagship device on its own.
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