Despite the hype surrounding smartwatches, they are unlikely to be featured on many consumers’ holiday wish lists this year.
It’s a bold prediction but one that Gartner is making today.
According to the venerable research giant, premium pricing paired with an unclear value proposition will steer consumers’ spending toward tablets and fitness bands, leading to lackluster sales of smartwatches in the next six weeks.
“Samsung and other well-known vendors have recently entered the smart watch space, yet the products we have seen so far have been rather uninspiring in terms of design, available apps and features,” asserts Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“As a result,” she continues, “Gartner predicts that wearable devices will remain a companion to mobile phones at least through 2017, with less than one percent of premium phone users opting to replace their phone with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet.”
There is currently a wide spectrum of technical specifications and capabilities in current smart watch products, such as the availability and speed of processors, display technology, type of sensors, connectivity and operating systems. There are models that could potentially replace a smartphone entirely — as they include all technologies down to cellular connectivity, while others can perform message display, initiate voice calls and music streaming.
“The convenience aspect of using a watch for interaction while leaving the larger-screen phone or tablet in the bag or pocket is something that users can relate to and probably recognize its value,” concludes Zimmermann. “However, there are still several significant barriers to mainstream adoption, including low interest and awareness among consumers, poor design and price.”
Is a smartwatch on your holiday shopping list this season?