Wearables Market Losing Steam: Devices Too Pricey, Not Enough Utility To Warrant Purchase?

22 December 2016, 3:30 pm EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
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Projected growth of wearable devices plummeted from 60 percent year-over-year to 25 percent this year. Researchers singled out smartwatches as the devices suffering anemic sales performance due to redundant features and expensive prices.  ( Fitbit | Instagram )

In the wake of reports that Fitbit has dominated the wearables segment and with its acquisition of Pebble, it would seem that the picture for the wearable industry is all rosy. A new report, however, shows that it is not the case.

Wearables' Negative Outlook

Research firm eMarketer has downgraded its outlook on the wearable devices market. It estimates a 24.7 percent growth this year for an industry that was expected to grow at least 60 percent year-over-year.

"The still-young category showed early promise, but usage has not expanded beyond early adopters," eMarketer said. "This year, 39.5 million US adults will use a wearable device (with internet connectivity) at least once a month, far less than the 63.7 million previously forecast."

Fortunately for Fitbit, researchers remain upbeat about fitness trackers, which are the company's bread and butter. The consensus is that people are failing to see any significant value for smartwatches, considering their price point.

The Fate Of The Apple Watch

This development is definitely bad news for Apple. One should recall that Tim Cook recently trumpeted that the Apple Watch just set a record-breaking sales performance during the onset of the holiday shopping season.

Analysts, however, are not impressed. These acknowledged the distinction of the Apple Watch and smartwatches in general from the fitness bands with its extra features. The researchers, however, point to the fact that these are already redundant because they overlap with functionalities found in smartphones.

Now, Cook has every reason to tout its holiday sales performance. This period is usually the time when people are more generous with their spending. In addition, Cupertino also released its latest smartwatch aimed for the holidays, possibly accounting for the bump. On the other hand, the case might not be the same afterwards.

Silver Lining For Smartwatches

To be fair, there are observers who remain bullish about the prospects of smartwatches. These cite a projected consolidation within the industry next year. This can purportedly be complemented by the increase in focus for these wearables. According to VentureBeat, the mistake largely rests on the predominant motivation of creating smartwatches that adhere to the one-size-fits-all model.

The idea is to listen to what the consumers wants, which should lead smartwatches toward the devices that feature core functions and which consumers actually want for their wearables. This is said to help keep prices down, which is largely seen as one of the causes for the projected sluggish wearable growth.

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