American Marketer

Software and technology

Smartwatches have promising future: Connected Intelligence

August 21, 2017

The Montblanc Summit smartwatch. Image credit: Montblanc


While the smartwatch industry was slower to take on than previously expected, disruption from these devices may still occur as adoption rates are steadily increasing.

According to latest "WEAR Report Industry Overview and Forecast" from NPD’s Connected Intelligence, there has been a 1.5 percent increase in individuals above the age of 18 who own a smartwatch compared to six months ago. The report forecasts that there will be a 60 percent growth in smartwatch owners by the fourth quarter of next year.

The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Wearables Survey leveraged the responses of 5,000 United States consumers in June 2017.

Smartwatch growth
Almost 9 percent of U.S. consumers over the age of 18 are in possession of a smartwatch, with that number likely to rise due to increased capability.

Currently, most smartwatches allow for notifications, activity tracking and news content, but music control and picture and video capability are continuing to grow. Connected Intelligence believes that the next round of updates will entice more first-time buyers.

Beautiful diamond bracelet with smart information display. Luxury wearable gadget idea. Original design. 3D rendering with clipping path. Diamond bracelet with smart info display

Millennials are the significant driver in smartwatch adoption, as 13 percent of millennials own a smartwatch. This is 4 percent more than the industry standard.

Men are slightly more interested in smartwatches as 60 percent of smartwatch owners are male. However, this is the closest the two genders have ever been in terms of smartwatch adoption.

The report notes that this indicates more mainstream adoption.

Smartwatches are also attracting lower income consumers, with 34 percent of those under $45,000 a year owning a smartwatch.

Michael Kors Access smartwatch

While activity trackers are typically less expensive than smartwatches, the number one reason consumers chose the latter is for their increased functionality.

Brands and smartwatches
In reaction to this growing trend, many watch brands are embracing this.

For instance, LVMH-owned watchmaker Tag Heuer honored its horological tradition with the introduction of a truly modular smartwatch, the Connected Modular 45.

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 has been designed, developed and assembled in the same spirit and exacting standards of the brand’s analog timepieces, but with Intel and Google technologies. For the first time, Tag Heuer Connected wearers can interchange watch components to fit their mood, similar to customizations seen on a traditional watch (see more).

Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski teased a new smartwatch that was unboxed at Baselworld 2017 in Switzerland this March.

The brand, stating that “timing is everything,” made the official announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan. 5-8 (see more).