It is no secret that the wearables market exploded in 2014. Brands like Fitibt and Garmin led the way with fitness trackers as the smartwatch market expanded with products by major manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and LG. In September, Apple announced the Apple Watch, a device many thought would validate the wearables market. Consumers held their breath for a while, as they waited to learn what Apple had to offer; but they quickly turned to other smartwatch brands over the holidays. Apple dropped their smartwatch announcement into a rapidly developing market that is not simply waiting around for Apple to confirm the legitimacy of wearable technology.
The smartwatch market is quickly becoming saturated. Smartphone manufacturers seem to be in a competition to fit as many features on the consumer’s wrist as possible, but user experience is being sacrificed in the furious pursuit of this goal. While a host of smartphone manufacturers turn out what can be described as mini wrist phones, companies like Pebble and Swatch are focused on including only the features that are essential to a small, wrist worn device. This strategy has proven successful for Pebble, as consumers continue to buy and review their smartwatches even with the looming release of the Apple Watch.
Perhaps the most shocking fact of consumer reaction to Pebble products in the wake of Apple’s wearables play is that their announcement of a new smartwatch, the Pebble Time, saw nearly the same amount of social buzz as the Apple Watch event in March.
There is no doubt that consumers will go crazy for the Apple Watch, but they have already proven interest in focused products. Pebble broke Kickstarter records with the announcement of the Pebble Time, and their stripped down approach to practical usage scenarios has paid off with consumer delight in the past. As time passes, wearable brands are pleasing the customers that are not waiting around to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on an Apple Watch.
Keep an eye on the Argus Insights blog for updates about the Apple Watch launch. Argus Insights will continue to track consumer perception of Apple, Pebble, and other brands in the wearables market. Please contact us for information about custom reporting, consultation, or access to our consumer data.
Keep an eye on social market trends with our free weekly newsletters.