Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Prime wearables

Last week was, of course, Prime Day and this year saw a slew of deals on top level smartwatches. Apple Watches were on sale, with the Series 7 starting at $279 (over $100 off the usual price), and the SE version on sale for $219 (22% off the normal price). Not to be outdone, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 was 40% of the usual price ($150 knocked off), while Fitbit’s Charge 5 was 30% off at $105. To be clear, these were not the usual sort of deals one expects, with all brands offering pricing that were new lows.

The NPD Take:

  • The wearables market is becoming far more competitive. It’s not just that there are more devices to choose from, but rather that the easy sales – the early(ish) adopters – are already sold on the devices. To gain additional market share, smartwatch vendors need to either steal shar from the others (not easy) or convince additional consumers to buy a smartwatch.
  • Smartwatch ownership has stalled out at 31% of the adult US population. Worse still, we saw this stall begin to occur before inflation rose and as the cost of living becomes more expensive, many potential purchasers will hold off on “nice-to-have” tech, such as smartwatches, rather than either jumping into the market or replacing an existing device.

Orange counter-culture?

Casio has launched a new G-Shock watch, in a bold orange color which is, to those of you who are space fans, the same color as the astronaut suits. Additionally, the band has an American flag and the back of the watch casing features the engraving of an astronaut. And in case all that left you uncertain about the color, there’s a “NASA” on the band too. To be clear, this is not a smartwatch here, but rather a limited-edition watch, priced at $170.

The NPD Take:

  • Yes, it’s not a smartwatch. But we only have two wrists and are unlikely to wear a watch on each wrist. So this has to be considered competition, especially as smartwatch adoption stalls out. Particularly among the 20-something group there is an almost counter-culture of sorts that seems to be embracing basic digital watches that have functionality more reminiscent of a 1980s watch.
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