Will 2014 be the year of the smartwatch for brand managers? Initial smartwatch offerings have been met with scrutiny, so why does this matter for marketing managers? Last years launch of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch was mauled by critics and deemed a disaster. Despite its underwhelming start, the market for wearable technology is set to explode in between now and 2020. Business Insider predict that 91.6 million smartwatch units will be sold globally in 2018. As smartwatches rise in popularity, brand managers and early adopters will seek to develop new apps as a means of engaging new customers and creating deeper engagement with existing customers. Wearable technology is set to be a huge growth area in terms of mobile technology.
There are several key drivers within the wearable technology market for smartwatches. Traditional watchmakers are already building new technology into their existing products. Another key driver is the ongoing rise of ‘active lifestyle segments’ whereby wearable technology can be used for things like running, establishing distance covered and calories burned etc. The smartwatches category is set for explosive growth even with relatively modest penetration of the wider watch wearing and mobile public. Many big brands will look to create collaborations with watchmakers and technology companies as everyday wearable items become more intelligent and web enabled.
Many mobile manufacturers are now developing smartwatch technology that is designed to accompany smartphones and tablets. However standalone smartwatches set to be released in the near future will provide features that enable fully functional calling and data communication.