Tick, Tock: Smart Watches Will Heat Up for Holiday 2015, Says Parks Associates Report

Tick, tock Smart Watches Will Heat Up for Holiday 2015, Says Parks Associates ReportSince smart watches took off with a bang when early adopters purchased them sight-unseen and value-unknown, sales have generally slumped.

Then again … how many days until Christmas?

But a new Parks Associates report — “360 View Update Smart Watch and Beyond: New Mobile Experiences” — suggests the devices are rising in popularity and could be a hot holiday item in late 2015.

More than 40 percent of smart watches are bought as gifts, according to Parks Associates. The international research firm found that 9 percent of U.S. broadband households said they plan to buy a smart watch, a rise of 8 percent in 2014.

“Nearly two-thirds of smart watches were purchased during the holiday season last year, so retailers and manufacturers should be preparing now for a smart watch push during the 2015 holidays,” said Harry Wang, Director of Health & Mobile Product Research at Parks Associates.

But users do want flexibility and app availability.

“Consumers expect the smart watch to be part of the mobile and connected home ecosystem,” advised Wang. “Among both owners and those planning to purchase a smart watch, 42 percent will buy a smart watch only if it works with apps from multiple companies, so manufacturers must ensure their offering is interoperable with other devices in the consumer IoT.”

In 2014, Best Buy and Amazon.com were the leading sales outlets for smart watches, according to the report summary shared with MMW. Those outlets accounted for 44 percent of the market.

“Apple’s entry into the smart watch race in 2015 provides a much needed impetus to growth in smart watch adoption, which has hitherto failed to meet expectations,” Wang said. “Traditional and luxury smart watch manufacturers have been playing a waiting game to gauge consumer interest and reactions to the smart watch. Apple’s entry introduces some urgency as the traditional and luxury watch manufacturers do not want to fall too far behind when introducing new products.”