Apple has long had a cool, cutting edge cachet. The impact of ethos is evident in a new Juniper Research report that declares Apple the coolest brand in wearables.
The report, titled “Consumer Wearables Market Survey”, covered over 20 different tech brands, and turned to over 2,000 smartphone users across the United Kingdom and the United States for said users' opinions of different brands. The responses were telling, and started with the clear knockout blow that most respondents thought Apple had the edge on cool when it came to brands available.
Rounding out the top five, in order, were Samsung, Google, LG and Sony, with the first non-major tech brand, Nike, coming in at number six. Interestingly, the bottom half of the top ten featured no mainly technology-focused names and included Rolex, UnderArmour, TAG Heuer and Ralph Lauren.
Juniper Research's study had plenty else to tell, revealing that just 20 percent of consumers would ever pay more than $175 for a wearable device regardless of its maker. It also found that the smartwatch market is much like the smartphone market, with Apple and Samsung splitting the bulk of the market. The two firms comprise over 75 percent of user preference. Android users were less likely to buy a wearable device in the near-term future than iOS users were, but both seemed interested in the same type of device. In terms of performance, only four percent of respondents would refuse to buy a device that had poor battery life.
What became clear to Juniper Research was that, for most tech buyers— even the most tech-savvy —wearable devices just didn't have that much value. Juniper Research noted that there wasn't much of a “convincing use-case” on hand to drive purchases, with one clear exception being fitness-based wearable devices. Juniper's James Moar noted that fitness devices were “the least costly wearables on the market, and the only category consistently under $175, which our survey identifies as the price ceiling for most consumers.”
Wearable tech makers needing a clear blueprint for the near-term future could not ask for better. Consumers can't justify spending much more than that $175 right now for wearable devices, because wearables aren't giving consumers a reason. Just look at Apple; those users will spend $500 or so annually in some cases on the latest iPhone because those users perceive the value. If wearable makers want to get more out of devices, makers need to put more into devices. Self-containment might be a good start; devices have often required a smartphone to run. The idea of a purely wearable smartphone could be exciting if done properly and command iPhone or Galaxy S prices.
Experimenting with form, factor, and function may push the market forward, but for now, users prefer low-cost devices. That and Apple, whose work developing its cool factor seems to be paying dividends.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere