Tags: smart | watch | traction | consumers | price

Smart Watch Lacks Traction With Consumers; Price Is a Factor

Image: Smart Watch Lacks Traction With Consumers; Price Is a Factor Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch on a display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 23, 2014.

By Nick Sanchez   |   Monday, 24 Mar 2014 09:05 AM

New figures reveal that smart watches – widely anticipated and written about for years – are failing to gain any significant traction with consumers a year after their major launches. One obstacle is the price.

Betanews.com cites figures from Kantar World Panel showing only 0.9 percent of UK consumers have adopted smart watch technology of any kind. Over 70 percent of those consumers who have are male, and over half are under 35 years old.

Leading the pack among smart watch purveyors with 32 percent of the market share is Samsung, which released the second version of its Galaxy Gear watch in February, just five months after the original version was launched. Sony follows with a 21 percent share after launching its SmartWatch 2 in November. Last but not least is Kickstarter wunderkind Pebble, one of the classic smart watches one could pre-order in 2012, with 18 percent. With overall sales numbers so low, however, the market share numbers could easily shift over the next year or two.

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Many industry analysts argue that the technology is nascent, having really only gotten off the ground last year. The much heftier adoption of wearable fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband belie this argument though, seeing as both wrap around the wrist.

Perhaps the real obstacle to smart watch adoption is the price. While fitness trackers range from $80-$150, smart watches like the Galaxy Gear start at nearly $300.

Other analysts say it may take the combination of fitness trackers with smart watches to really get the technology off the ground.

Apple is rumored to be building such a watch, having laid the groundwork for the fitness aspect with the M7 co-processing chip it put in the iPhone 5S. A February Bloomberg article confirmed that Apple had a team of roughly 100 engineers working on the project under the leadership of James Foster. The company has also begun trademarking "iWatch" in several countries, and patenting watch designs.

Insiders originally predicted a late 2013 launch for the iWatch, but have recently pushed back their timelines, reflecting a mid to late 2014 launch.

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