Wearables Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Apple Week; a Google Opportunity

It is Apple Week and the expected big news at this Fall’s event will be focused on the latest iPhone. As such, we have lower expectations for the Watch series and the safe money is on relatively minor updates for the Watch and Ultra. That is an opportunity for other vendors to make some noise, and Google has been quick to “leak” details of its upcoming Pixel Watch 2. The new Pixel is expected to be officially launched on October 4 and looks set to come with a broader array of sensors (the official teaser video shows a larger sensor that should support more functionality). In addition, the new Pixel Watch is expected to come with better battery life, thanks to a new, more efficient processor. And it is safe to say that the Watch will come with Wear OS 4.

The Circana Take:

  • The smartwatch market is currently struggling with lower sales across the category and so this is the time for Google to truly wow with a vastly-improved device if the company wants to gain market share. 
  • The challenge for Google – and for many smartwatch vendors – is that consumers naturally pair the watch manufacturer with their current smartphone vendor (i.e., Apple iPhone to Apple Watch, Samsung phone to Samsung watch and so on). With Google’s  fairly small share of the smartphone market , the company needs to convince consumers to think beyond that natural pairing.

Garmin Updates the Venu and Encourages Nap Time

Garmin has launched an updated version of its popular Venu watch. The new Venu 3 launch comes two years after the previous iteration and has added more focus on sleep tracking, among other features. Specifically, the new Venu 3 is adding nap detection and a proactive sleep coaching feature. The nap detection will help build your “Body Battery” score during the day, where this feature previously only took your nighttime sleep into consideration. Other key features in the Venu 3 include wheelchair mode that tracks pushes rather than steps and pre-loaded workouts for wheelchair users. And finally, in a significant enhancement for Garmin, the new watch will include a microphone and speaker, allowing you to make calls from your phone (as long as your smartphone is still connected to it, of course).

The Circana Take:

  • Garmin watches are popular options for smartwatch owners that do not want to be tied to the smartphone manufacturer’s own watch product, as well as suggesting a more “sporty” personality of the wearer. As such, we expect the new Venu 3 to see continued success.
  • The ability to make, and receive, calls direct to the phone is a good enhancement that begs the obvious question: why Garmin continues to avoid delivering a true cellular-enabled watch. The lack of cellular limits the device’s appeal, as well as its retail opportunities as the wireless carriers gain no value from selling it in their stores.
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