Wearables Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

The long kiss goodnight

Rumor has it that Apple will finally be closing out the Apple Watch 3 later this year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Watch 3 will move to “end-of-life in Q322”. The reason is that the five-year-old Watch will not be able to support the next version of WatchOS, according to the theory and Apple does not sell products that cannot support the latest updates in general. The timing makes sense as Watch 3 will be removed at around the time that the new Watch (presumably, based on previous timing) will be announced.

The NPD Take:

  • The Series 3 Watch remains popular among the Apple base. According to our latest research 19% of Apple Watch owners still use that version and the share has remained relatively constant for the past couple of years.
  • The assumed demise of the Watch 3 is not much of a risk for Apple: these customers will likely upgrade to a newer version of the Watch and we expect that the SE version will benefit the most for the price-sensitive customers.

Pixel Watch delay rumor

The fate of Google’s Pixel Watch is a case of rumors layered upon rumors. Rumor had it that the Pixel Watch would launch at Google I/O in May. The latest layer of rumor is that there will be a sneak preview of the watch at I/O but that the core announcement will be in October 2022. After years of launch rumors, we should take some solace from the fact that at least the expected release remains this year.

The NPD Take:

  • While many pundits are positioning that as a “delay” by Google, with the assumption of supply chain issues, the October launch date (if, of course, true) makes far more sense than an I/O launch. October is when Google typically launches the latest flagship Pixel phone which makes the Pixel Watch announcement the perfect complement, allowing the company to show how both devices work together in perfect harmony.
  • An October launch also allows Google to better position the Pixel Watch against the latest Apple Watch, which is typically announced in September each year.

Don’t stress it

Fitbit has added stress tracking to all of its existing devices. These include the Versa 2 and 3, Luxe, Charge 4 and 5 and Inspire 2. Part of this is aimed at keeping its customers loyal by adding a key feature to their current products, but it’s also a play for additional revenue. While everyone will see their daily stress score, customers how subscribe to Fitbit’s subscription service will see a full breakdown of stress analysis. This fits in neatly with Fitbit’s core focus on “wellness” with the subscription providing challenges, meditation, and workouts. You can even follow along with Will Smith as he works to gain back his former fitness and strong right hook.

The NPD Take:

  • All hardware vendors are looking for ways to keep the revenue rolling in beyond the initial sale of hardware. This move gives yet another reason for Fitbit customers to consider the subscription service which is priced at $9.99 per month (or $79.99 for an annual subscription).
  • Deeper analysis of your activities and features can also lead to higher levels of loyalty to the brand. Unless, of course, the customer can find the same information on different hardware without having to pay for a premium subscription.
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