“Are Smartwatches just for Geeks?”

“Are Smartwatches just for Geeks?”

Hello my fellow techsperts,

What’s been going on with you?

Also, what have we been seeing recently in the world of smartwatches?  A massive surge to the category, that’s what!

As many of you will know, Apple launched their Series 4 smartwatch, alongside another “small” name brand with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy smartwatch hitting the market and seemingly growing their market share in the CE division in Q3.  We have also seen the Huawei GT smartwatch land, featuring their own software, a bit like some of the TicWatch range.  Finally (and I mentioned this in my IFA post), there are the real fashion players in the market launching with the WearOS by Google software in the names of Fossil Smartwatch, Michael Kors Access, Emporio Armani Connected, Skagen Connected, A|X Connected…

I mean the list just goes on and on from Fossil Group.  It has to be said that these are some of my favourites in the market at the moment.  Namely because they are fashion pieces, but with smart capabilities.  Fossil Group are the only major fashion house bridging this gap and the other people launching into this sector have some major catching up to do.

However, it is not just the display watches that are causing a stir.  Most recently there has been the partnership between Fossil Group and Citizen, with Citizen using Fossil Group’s hybrid movements to launch themselves into the market.  A great move from both watchmakers and it goes to show that creating partnerships within this sector really is the way forward.  It will only strengthen this technology and create awareness for the hybrid market; something that is long overdue.

As you can probably tell, I am somewhat of a smartwatch enthusiast and ultimately a convert from the traditional watches, albeit I still wear these from time to time (pardon the pun!).  When scrolling through various social media outlets recently, I have noticed the title of this post being asked a lot; “Are smartwatches just for geeks?”

I was a little taken back by this statement type question and I’ll tell you why:

  1. What do you define a “Geek” to be?
  2. Surely by saying this, you’re funneling your audience and ultimately the consumer?
  3. Designs are changing.
  4. The market is evolving, quickly!

THE DEFINITION OF A “GEEK”

The dictionary definition of a “geek” certainly doesn’t help my argument…

Image taken from:

Google Dictionary Definition Search

Are we throwing back to the stereotypical 80s movies whereby the “geeks” are those who study hard, are intelligent, tend to wear glasses, read countless books and not have the latest fashion trend?  In my opinion, we shouldn’t be defined by the use of these words anymore.  I mean an industry that is thriving and not going anywhere is surely technology.  A sector that takes commitment, intelligence and hard work.  All of the above that people will automatically assume is “geeky!”  Technically, if we were to use the dictionary religiously, I would be a “geek” for being passionate about smartwatches.  However, something about the word, reflects a negative connotation for me (you may disagree) but, we need to look beyond what we perceive as “geeky” and see things for what they are.

ARE YOU FUNNELING YOUR AUDIENCE?

I understand that until various brands launched into the market with their versions of a smartwatch, there has been a targeted audience of the “tech savvy” consumers, but as we see the products develop, we too should progress with the way we target consumers.  Calling people “geeks” for owning a smartwatch, completely alienates them and other consumer channels.

Before I had a smartwatch, I would not have even considered one.

Why?

Because they were targeted towards those who were a little more tech savvy and not your average everyday person.   I had a perception that I would not know how to use one nor could I see how would it help me everyday and support my lifestyle.  However, my opinions certainly changed after I wore one (this is crucial to developing this category).  I may not use or know how to use every single function or feature, but I use what is important to me.  For instance, utilising the new Google Fit App, helps me understand the changes I need to make day to day when sat in an office environment and not moving as much as I would like.  It encourages me to make the changes that will no doubt have an effect on my health in the long-term.

What about all the health developments from Apple?  With massive trends coming through for health, fitness and wellness, Apple have managed to incorporate an ECG monitor into their Series 4 smartwatches which is insane (albeit not available in the UK).  Heart rate in itself is a feature that is expected from the end consumer now; a given, not a nice to have.

Or how about NFC payments?

I no longer worry when on the underground that my purse is at risk within the rush hour kerfuffle, all I need do is tap my wrist.  A much more secure way of paying and doesn’t kick start any anxious feelings that I may have.  With almost 3 in 10 people favouring a more “phone free” life, this feature plays into that for me.

I listened to my friend who happens to sell smartwatches, tell me a story about an experience in his store.  He sold one to a 79 year old man.

Why?

Because there are features on the watch that match his lifestyle.  He could get reminders to take his vitamins, notifications from his son who was living out of the country and could measure his step count after the doctor had told him off for not being active enough.  A heartwarming story that reminded me and proves they are for everyone.  Even if you look at the dictionary definition, I would not put the gentleman into the bracket of a “geek.”

Ultimately, developments are hitting different people in different ways, which widens the captive audience even more.

DESIGNS ARE CHANGING

The other reason I wouldn’t have worn a smartwatch 3-4 years ago is simply the designs that were entering the market.  The chunky cases alongside the male orientated materials used and overall designs were not targeted towards women.

Is that because the industry is so heavily male dominated?  It could be part of it.

I also think the brands entering the market were the typical technology players, of whom did not know how to speak to a female or fashion oriented audience.  I am so happy to see that this is changing; it had to afterall.  Partnerships like Fossil Group have done with Google, create a double pronged approach with targeting consumers.  There will be a lot of people familiar with the WearOS system from other brands, but may not have taken the plunge because the design hasn’t been there.

Thank you fashion brands for entering this connected world.

  

   

Images Sourced from:

https://www.michaelkors.co.uk/runway-rose-gold-tone-and-silicone-smartwatch

https://www.fossil.com/uk/en/products/gen-4-smartwatch-q-venture-hr-blush-leather-sku-ftw6015p.html

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2018/09/redesigned-apple-watch-series-4-revolutionizes-communication-fitness-and-health/

https://www.samsung.com/uk/wearables/galaxy-watch

 

THE MARKET

The market is ever evolving.

With predictions that the market will grow as much as 50% by 2021 and with almost 1/3 of Brits saying that they would purchase a smartwatch, the size of the prize is there.

This is not to say that everyone in the world will wear the full on display smartwatches that are really taking flight in the market, but eventually there will be an element of smart in most watch designs.  The hybrid market is already doing this, by having a traditional looking watch with smart features hidden in the background.

We are always on the lookout for the latest trend.

Yes, Apple have done a fantastic job of getting their smartwatches onto people’s wrist, but would you honestly wear one of these for the rest of your life or even have it as a family heirloom?  People want options and the more the market develops, the happier the consumers will be.

The opportunity and developments are huge and something that is available to all; the person who may not have ever worn a smartwatch, the “tech savvy,” the health enthusiast, the business man or woman…

Yes, everyone; not just for “geeks!”

IN SUMMARY

Do I think that the statement that “smartwatches are just for geeks” is true?

No, I think it is naive.

What is your opinion on this?  I’d love to hear your arguments.

…Until next time my fellow techsperts

Laura

x

 

 

 


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