Thursday, July 09, 2015

Smart watches heat up: Parks Associates predicts popularity for 2015 holiday season

New consumer research analyzes adoption and purchase patterns for smart watches

Over 40% of smart watches are bought as gifts, and with these devices rising in popularity, they will be a hot holiday item in 2015, according to Parks Associates’ 360 View Update Smart Watch and Beyond: New Mobile Experiences. The international research firm finds 9% of U.S. broadband households plan to buy a smart watch by end of 2015, up from 8% 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, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. “Consumers expect the smart watch to be part of the mobile and connected home ecosystem. Among both owners and those planning to purchase a smart watch, 42% 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; they accounted for 44% of the market. Walmart’s share of the market jumped from 2% in 2013 to 7% in 2014. In the early stages of this market, consumers will gravitate to familiar sales channels for electronics, which makes Apple’s entry into this market even more potent, according to Parks Associates.

“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.”

Smart Watch and Beyond: New Mobile Experiences analyzes the market for smart watches, including prices paid, brands purchased, retail channels, and feature considerations. According to Parks Associates, 52% of consumers in U.S. broadband households who own or plan to purchase a smart watch use it or plan to use it for tracking fitness activities, 51% for checking the weather, and 50% for listening to music. One-fourth use it or will use it for mobile payment or shopping features, 22% for home automation features, and only 17% for checking stock quotes.

Parks Associates will address the integration of wearables into consumer healthcare at its second-annual Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers, September 9-10 in San Diego. The event features keynotes from AT&T, Humana, and Kaiser Permanente. For more information, visit www.connectedhealthsummit.com.

Smart Watch and Beyond: New Mobile Experiences is available for purchase. More information is available at www.parksassociates.com. To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific research data, please contact Holly Sprague at hsprague@gmail.com.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-owned and woman-led internationally recognized market research and consulting company, specializes in emerging technology solutions serving the consumer and small to medium business (SMB) markets. Celebrating its 35th year in 2021, Parks Associates is a partner to companies navigating the changing consumer technology landscapes through data-driven market insights, extensive consumer and industry intelligence, custom marketing services, and executive networking experiences and conferences.

The company's expertise includes home automation, control systems and security, digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, internet and video services, connected health and independent living solutions, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer electronics, and energy management solutions.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, and Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media. http://www.parksassociates.com

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