A recent survey from Juniper Research pointed out two interesting, but contradictory, pieces of data.
Apple topped the results as the ‘coolest brand’ for wearable technology. However, only one in five respondents said they’d spend more than $175 for a wearable.
So Apple has the wearable most people want but most people won’t buy.
Tech brands versus watchmakers
Tellingly, the survey respondents said they weren’t interested in non-technology brands for smartwatches with no fashion or sports brand supported by more than three percent of respondents. In the list of 21 brands, Nike came in at number six as the first non-tech brand in the list followed by Rolex.
The top five were:
The next best ranked sports brands after Nike were Under Armor at eight and Adidas at 15.
But the real story is that the top two, Apple and Samsung, were preferred by over three-quarters of the respondents. That suggests, at least when it comes to preference, we’re heading towards a market that’s similar to the smartphone business. And we’d expect Samsung to lead in terms of numerical sales given that its Gear line of smart watches cost substantially less than even the least expensive Apple Watch.
As I’m writing this, I’m at a technology conference. One could assume that if there were going to be an Apple Watch-friendly crowd they would be here. Most of the people we’ve spoken with are iPhone users and the number of Macs being used suggests Apple has a strong market presence in this crowd.
I’ve spotted very few Apple Watches in the wild. A few people have asked me about the usefulness of the Apple Watch. While there are a lot of useful features, I’ve yet to find a real ‘killer app’. Notifications are useful and using the location tool to find my iPhone when I leave it lying around the house is very handy. Likewise, being able to answer a call when my iPhone isn’t at hand is useful.
But none of those are life-changing.
I can see the value proposition for fitness wearables. That’s pretty simple and companies like Fitbit – a conspicuous absentee from the Juniper Research list – have carved out a strong following. But more general devices lack of a convincing use-case.