Is the smart watch market alive again?

Smart watches are no longer a business with thresholds.

At the end of September, after Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO, vivo also released its first smartwatch.

This also marks that the current top six mobile phone manufacturers in the world have completed the layout of smart watch product lines.

If it goes back four or five years ago, most people will still regard smart watches as "passengers" in consumer electronics.

Many years ago, when Apple launched the first Apple Watch, people in the Swiss watch industry were still pessimistic about Apple's entry into the wearable field, and the first batch of users were also dissatisfied with its features and usage scenarios.

At that time, Jean-Claude Biver, head of Louis Vuitton's (LVMH) watch business, said:

"The best Swiss watch is unique. It can be passed on from generation to generation and will not become worthless after five years; but the Apple Watch is different. It is destined to become obsolete."

This sentence is half right: the first batch of 18K gold Apple Watch Editions have indeed become tears of the times; but the smartwatch category represented by Apple Watch has not died out.

On the contrary, in the past two years, after Apple, Samsung and Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo have all entered the game and started to make watches. People's complaints and doubts about smart watches are no longer as strong as they were at the beginning.

After years of rubbing and rolling, the smartwatch finally found its place.

In February of this year, the market research organization Strategy Analytics issued a report stating that Apple’s Apple Watch shipments reached 30.7 million units in 2019, and maintained an annual growth rate of 36%; the total shipments of the entire Swiss watch industry was 2110 10,000 units, down 13% year-on-year.

This is also the first time that Apple Watch has surpassed the entire Swiss watch industry in terms of shipments.

SA analysts said that smart watches represented by Apple Watch have attracted more and more young consumers, and traditional Swiss watch manufacturers are losing this battle for the wrist.

But some old Swiss watch factories are not worried about this problem. In their view, those ultra-high-end watches with high prices and sophisticated craftsmanship still possess the "luxury attributes" that smart watches do not possess.

This sense of identity can indeed allow high-end watches to continue to take a share of the market; the ones who really lose out are those who are hard to get brand bonuses and are priced similarly.

In the past, they could rely on their beauty to make up for the technological gap with smart watches, but when smart watches gradually become more sophisticated, ordinary watches no longer have this advantage.

Consumers’ perspectives on watches and their perceptions of wrist devices are constantly being updated.

400 years ago, the watch was invented as a timing tool with the purpose of giving people a tool that can control time at any time.

Nowadays, "watch the time, change the dial" is just one of the many selling points of smart watches. You can also use it to receive notifications, listen to music, and even install apps, just like what we did on smart phones before.

Coupled with various built-in sensors, smart watches can already bring some unique features that mobile phones do not have.

Exercise and health monitoring are good examples.

This is also the core reason why big companies will actively enter the watch field.

When you open the official page of Apple Watch Series 6, you will see that the slogan "A healthy future, wear it now" has been placed in the most conspicuous position on the first screen, and most of the next features are also The two keywords of health are indispensable.

Functions such as heart rate, electrocardiogram and blood oxygen detection have also become the main distinguishing points of Apple Watch's high, middle and low product lines. For example, the lowest-end Series 3 now only has basic heart rate detection; if you want to get all the health functions, you can only buy the latest Series 6 products.

The smart watches launched by Android manufacturers have also moved closer to this aspect in terms of selling points. For example, Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo, which have started to deploy in the past two years, will focus on sports health features.

It is foreseeable that if other manufacturers enter the smart watch market in the future, sports and health will also become an indispensable part.

Many people may be curious, why is it "healthy"?

This is related to the shape of the watch itself. Since its birth, it has been designed on our wrists, and it is currently the only smart device that can be attached to the human body for a long time.

Relying on the blood vessels covered on the wrist and the neuron signals, the various sensors on the watch can easily obtain accurate and rich data, which is also a condition that other devices such as mobile phones do not have.

But more importantly, it comes down to the attractiveness of "health" itself.

This is the same as modern people's passion for all kinds of low-fat, low-sugar and low-calorie foods. The health emphasized by smart watches is also aimed at our pain points. As long as you still have "health anxiety", then health-related selling points can be a good reason for everyone to pay.

It's just that the health vision portrayed by smart watches is not metaphysics, but provides users with an opportunity to "quantify themselves".

Take this year’s Apple Watch Series 6 "blood oxygen detection" as an example. This function itself is not new. Various finger clip oximeters already exist on the market, but its main significance is that users can get one more. Data indicators improve the positioning of Apple Watch as a health tool.

Even if the value of a single data is not great, when the data dimensions such as heart rate and electrocardiogram increase, the system can obtain more comparison conditions, and ultimately provide users with valuable information.

What's more, buying a finger clip oximeter may not always be used, but with a watch on your hand, you can get real-time monitoring opportunities. This transition from "active use" to "passive reception" is also Many people fancy the health function on smart watches.

For manufacturers, health is also a market with more potential than the watch industry.

Last year, Morgan Stanley pointed out in a report that in the health care market, Apple hopes to lead a new round of digital revolution and create an "ecosystem" around health services, just like when iTunes changed the music industry. The App Store has reshaped the same as the mobile app store.

"The size of the healthcare market is three times larger than the global smartphone market."

Analysts also added that by 2027, this industry is expected to bring in annual revenues ranging from US$15 billion to US$313 billion for Apple. The reason for the large difference in estimates is due to the digital transformation of the healthcare industry. just began.

A few years ago, no people cared about health-related concepts, but this year is different. Under the influence of a wave of epidemics, many people's health awareness and the importance of public health have been reawakened.

Business opportunities are slowly emerging. To a certain extent, health companies, or manufacturers that use smart watches as health tools, are also enjoying the dividends brought about by health anxiety.

During the epidemic this year, we have seen some examples of successful niche products based on sports and health. For example, Nintendo’s fitness ring was originally only for Switch gamers, but because many people stayed at home and stayed behind closed doors, the demand for exercise at home was born, and it became in short supply for a while.

As for smart watches, it is a more targeted category, providing care and preventive health functions such as heart rate and sleep monitoring.

By the end of this year, Apple also plans to launch a subscription-based fitness service called Fitness+, so that Apple Watch users can get professional fitness courses at home, as well as quantitative data such as heart rate and calories. It can be said that Apple has built "health" for Apple Watch. Another embodiment of "ecosphere".

More importantly, unlike smart phones that have touched the technical ceiling, smart watches have many functions that can be tapped in the health field. For example, non-invasive blood glucose testing, blood pressure, muscle movement, food intake records and so on. More detailed data can allow smart watches to gain more symptom tracking capabilities.

As long as more and more people have the idea of ​​quantifying themselves and pursuing a healthy life, companies that can provide methods and tools will still be able to find opportunities in the market.

Source of title picture: Tech and Geek

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