Apple Watch steals the limelight from rival wearables

By

Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Smartwatches have been around for a few years and as a must-have device, they haven’t quite caught on. Analysts say there are two barriers, price and people not seeing the advantage of owning one.

But a new report shows Apple is making a dent in at least one of those barriers. A survey of 11,000 people by Kantar US Insights shows 92 percent recognize the Apple brand more than any other brand. Fitbit came in second with 47 percent with Google and Samsung scoring in the low 30s.

The report, released by Kantar Thursday comes in a week of good news for Apple after a glowing Q3 earnings report, which also showed $1.7 billion in sales so far in 2015 for the Apple Watch.

But the report by Kantar shows the smartwatch market is slow in growing. Just 3 percent of the U.S. population (ages 16 and up) owns a smart watch. Most owners are male and 1 in 3 are in the 25-34 age range.

Though men are more likely than women to buy a smartwatch, younger demographics are more likely to purchase them.
Though men are more likely than women to buy a smartwatch, younger demographics are more likely to purchase them.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Kantar’s report suggests Apple’s recognition is because of design and marketing that emphasizes how the watch can be personalized.

Three other interesting figures: 33 percent say their phone does everything they need, 32 percent said they were not watch wearers and 27 percent couldn’t understand why they need a smartwatch.

Kantar’s research chief Carolina Milanesi say the numbers may change as smartwatches become more independent in functionality from smartphones. But the price (the Apple Watch starts at $349) may keep many at bay.

“With wearables, the purchase decision will be greatly impacted by the absence of the kind of subsidy people have become accustomed to smartphones,” Milanesi wrote. “Smartphone buyers have been protected from the actual cost of their device, but they will see the true cost of wearables from the outset.”

If the also-ran smartwatch brands mentioned in the survey need company, they have Swiss watchmakers, which reported last week a sharp decline in quarterly sales. One of the reasons, analysts said, was because of the rising popularity of the Apple Watch.

Source: WatchAware