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UK Insights

Apple watch verdict

Claire Davies

Former editor and head of content

Mobile 2014 12.09.2014 / 06:10

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Current GB smartwatch market has a penetration of 1%

On September 9th 2014, Apple announced its move into wearables, with the Apple Watch. So, what's the verdict? Well, let's see what data and expert insights we have from across Kantar.

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech July 2014 data, the smartwatch market in Great Britain has a penetration of 1%, while fitness bands reach 2% of the consumer addressable market. At the moment, just 6% of current iPhone owners in the UK currently own a wearable device, so there is a big opportunity for Apple.

Carolina Milanesi from Kantar Worldpanel believes there are three ingredients to make smartwatches a mass-market opportunity: "Design, use case and price. If either of the first two is addressed, the third no longer matters. In other words, if you make it either beautiful or extremely useful, consumers will pay for it! Apple has clearly bet on design, making its Apple Watch look very familiar to users. It even has a crown like an analog watch. Apple is also offering the highest degree of personalization, not just of the screen but of the design, enabling different materials to be used for the watch face and strap. Apple is clearly appealing to the more irrational and visceral part of a consumer's purchasing decision with its design. Once the consumer's attention is grabbed, the 'stickiness' to the device and the brand will come from the user interface and the user experience."

In a poll of 5,035 British people in October 2013 by Kantar's Lightspeed GMI, only 7% said they were keen to wear their smartphone technology in the form of a watch or pair of glasses. At the time Ralph Risk from Lightspeed GMI said: "It is now up to the brands to educate the real benefits that new functions can provide so that the latest gadget moves from just a nice to have, to something they cannot live without." History would suggest that Apple is in a good place to do just that, having previously succeeded to convince many sceptics of the benefits of their earlier products.

Brian Kushnir from Kantar's Added Value says Apple have set up their watch as personal and intimate: "This continues the trend we're seeing toward the elimination of boundaries between humans and machines.  In effect we are becoming one and the same.  Already with technology like Google Glass and Oakley Airwave integrating technology into our vision experience, and other products incorporating sensors and motion control capabilities via devices, pendants, or in our clothing, we are getting more comfortable with the notion that technology is something that is part of us.  As we increasingly become one with technology and it permeates our thinking, behaviours, and experience, even the meaning of 'human' is being stretched."

Read more about the impact of Apple's new iPhone 6 phablet.

Source : Kantar Worldpanel, Lightspeed, Kantar Added Value

Editor's Notes

Journalists, for expert commentary or additional data please contact us.

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