NPD’s Weekly Tracking Service reported that up to $96 million in revenue was obtained from the sale of about half million smartwatches between October last year and June this year.
Ben Arnold, an analyst for NPD Group said that it seems like we are on the edge of version 2.0 with smartwatches. “We’ve got all these new announcements from Samsung, and the Android Wear watches from LG and Motorola, and I feel like this new generation of smartwatches is making the device actually smart,” he added.
The amount sold might seem like a lot, but it is nothing much compared to $330 that was obtained from the digital fitness market. This shows the smartwatches still have a long way to go.
But what is holding the smartwatches back? Ben Arnold says it is the software. It is the type of applications that are available for watches that is holding hem back, Arnold said.
Applications like Google Now are very powerful for those who know how to use them but many people do not know how to use them and some do not even know that they exist.
“I feel like the applications that are making smartwatches interesting at this point are still kind of things that [only] tech-savvy and early adopters know about,” Arnold said.
For the age of smartwatches and wearables in general to become a reality, consumers need to be more aware of the software available for them and how the software will improve their lives.
There are apps like Runkeeper and Evernote that are very important for smartwatches but many people are not aware that they can be useful in wrist form.
Apple is also missing from the scene; a factor that might be contributing to a slow take-off. Arnold believes that if Apple could put out a smartwatch its loyalists would easily take notice of this category and this might mark its transition from the tech-savvy club to the general consumer market.
Another main issue is the price. The price of smartwatches fluctuates between $150 and $300. This is out of reach of the majority of consumers. But this might change if many players enter this market to bring competition.
There is also another problem with smartwatches right now and that is the design. Many smartwatches are not designed with women’s wrist in mind. They are bulky in design, a feature that is not appealing to women since their wrists are usually narrow.
The smartwatch industry is currently transitioning from industrial to fashion design and it would be wise if they took a cue from the design of fitness trackers; these are designed for all types.
One serious barrier to the growth of smartwatches industry is the fact that people nowadays tend to use their mobile phones to check time. And mobile phones have greater penetration even to the low income earners.
If all these barriers are overcome we may enter into the smartwatch age, but it isn’t far may be by the end of this year this might be achieved.