Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Wearable devices are unlikely to be big sellers, analysts say

By
From page B5 | August 14, 2014 |

Is wearable tech already wearing thin?

Despite the hype for upcoming products from Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., a number of analysts say Internet-connected personal devices such as smartwatches and fitness bands – so-called wearables – will be hard-pressed to reach the same sales heights as smartphones and tablets.

That’s because nearly every selling point for wearable tech – a smartphone alternative, a better system for fitness tracking and a link to other Internet-connected devices – may not have broad appeal, some analysts say.

“If all you’re doing is saving me the trouble of getting my phone out, that’s not going to be enough,” said Jonathan Gaw, a wearables analyst at International Data Corp. “You need to do more than that.”

Still, amid signs of a slowdown in smartphone sales and pressure to come up with the next big thing, tech companies are jumping on the wearable tech trend. Many analysts expect Apple, Google and Samsung will roll out wearable tech products in the next 12 months.

But Parks Associates analyst Harry Wang predicts that at best, smartwatch sales will top out at about 120 million around 2018 – a far cry from smartphones and tablets. More than 1 billion smartphones and more than 195 million tablets were sold last year.

Analysts say the best hope for wearable tech is something that many Americans loathe: exercise.

“Wearables are primarily about health and fitness, tracking activity and making use of it,” Canalys researcher Daniel Matte said. “It’s tough to say that’s the entirety of it, but it’s fair to say that’s the majority of it.”

But fitness tracking may be a tough pill to swallow – almost half of Americans don’t exercise at all, and a recent Endeavor Partners study found that nearly a third of fitness tracker users stop using their device after six months.

That’s effectively a death sentence for future smartwatch makers, as the other selling point for wearable tech – a smartphone extension – won’t persuade consumers to shell out hundreds of dollars for another gadget, analysts said.

For companies already in the wearable-devices marketplace, improving sales and retaining customers comes not from better fitness-tracking technology, but from the ability of a device to change behavior.

“Our average user isn’t fit. They’re overweight,” Fitbit Chief Executive James Park said. “That’s really driven how we think of product development over time.”

Park said Fitbit built apps and other game-like features into the system because those features encourage users to not only keep up healthy habits but also to continue using Fitbit. The 7-year-old company has no plans to compete with universal smartwatches, Park said, and believes it can expand by narrowing its focus to health-and-fitness-related features.

It’s an advantage Park touts over the current generation of smartwatches. Though Park expects the current wearables market to expand over the next six to 12 months because of marketing efforts by Apple and Google, he said Fitbit will still have a place at the table because consumers have a solid grasp on what the device is used for.

“We strongly believe there’s no one-size-fits-all for the (wearables) market,” he said.

Parks Associates’ Wang said smartwatches will eventually compete against luxury watch makers such as Rolex, not other tech companies.

Entering into the already established watch market would have companies making fewer sales but higher profit margins, he said. Wang’s forecast for the sale of 120 million devices assumes that wearables would act more as a luxury watch, rather than a smartphone or tablet.

Wang cited several factors that could boost the smartwatch market, including technological advances that could make the devices more attractive to consumers. An app developer or innovative start-up, for instance, might come up with a new feature or sexier selling point for wearables that could brighten their prospects.

“I think wearables have tremendous potential, yes, but in the same way I think (No. 1 NBA draft pick) Andrew Wiggins has tremendous potential,” analyst Gaw said.

Los Angeles Times

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JimboAugust 14, 2014 - 11:18 am

    I am still waiting for the 'smart' phone app that tells its users they just walked right out into traffic. It is long overdue.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Suisun council candidates all voice business-friendly platforms

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
Why Obama needs congressional authority to wage war

By Albert R. Hunt | From Page: A7

Democrats shouldn’t rely on pot and gay marriage

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A7

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9