Wearables Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Samsung to launch Fan Edition Watch?

According to the rumor mill, Samsung is getting ready to launch the Galaxy Watch FE. The budget-oriented version of the watch could see a release date before the end of this month which would place it before Samsung’s anticipated main event on July 10. While it seems a little odd that the watch would be launched before Samsung’s event, the company could be seeing tis as an opportunity to boost the slowing smartwatch market and, in particular, get a head start on any back-to-school activity with a potential bundled opportunity with the Samsung S24 smartphone. Further, with the company’s smart ring expected to be officially unveiled at the company’s main event, launching the budget watch earlier would allow Samsung to focus on the new form factor. The watch is expected to cost under $200.

The Circana Take:

  • Demand for smartwatches has slowed. Our ownership data shows that the market saw no additional ownership growth in the past six months, remaining at 42% of the adult population. 
  • The youth market is still seeing good growth, however, and a lower-priced Samsung watch will help the company drive demand in that segment, which is key for future ecosystem strength.

Fitbit ring?

Fitbit was recently granted a patent for a smart ring, which is described as a “Ring for optically measuring biometric data”. That suggests that the former king of the Activity Tracker market is looking to push into the ring space fairly soon, increasing the competitive landscape for the other players. 

  • The addition of a smart ring makes perfect sense for Fitbit. The company made its reputation in the Activity Tracker market where, at one point, it accounted for over 70% of all trackers owned. But that market has slumped considerably, and Fitbit’s market share is now around 55%.
  • Fitbit also failed to migrate its customer base to Fitbit-based smartwatches, losing a lot of market share to the likes of Apple and Samsung. A smart ring will provide an alternative migration path for current Activity Tracker owners looking to a smaller form factor (or simply a better replacement for their current Tracker) who do not want a smartwatch. 
  • The smart ring market is getting crowded already, with more than five ring alternatives already in the market. And we expect Samsung to finally launch its smart ring in early July. The risk is that the market will quickly race towards the bottom from a pricing perspective and the likes of Fitbit and Samsung need to clearly differentiate tier products from the cheaper ones. Fitbit has an advantage here with a relatively loyal Tracker base who will want a compatible solution so they do not lose their workout history.
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