Full-fledged touchscreen smartwatches may be packed with features, but according to Juniper Research, the tech blitz won’t be able to compete with its sibling, hybrid watches. In its January report, the firm pegged the latter to account for nearly 80 million shipments by 2022, or more than half of the expected smartwatch market. If those figures are accurate, it would make for 460 percent growth.
Juniper’s forecast predictably pleased Fossil, a major maker and purveyor of the analog-digital combo devices. The watch company offers 108 hybrid watch styles across 14 brands.
“We believe that in the future every watch will have smart features. These will then be precisely tailored to the respective trends and needs of the customers,” said Antonio Nigro, Fossil Group’s vice president of Europe north, e-commerce and consumer electronics.
Now it explains the secret ingredient for the category’s success: Fashion.
“Hybrid watches are so trendy due to them combining the look of an analog watch with smart features,” said Nigro. “[They’re] the perfect item for those who want to benefit from certain functions without compromising on the design.”
The company — which last summer said that it would usher in as many as 300 smartwatches — sees fashion’s smartwatch intervention as a crucial factor in the category’s success.
Hybrids offer an opportunity for “infusing technology into beautifully designed form factors with broad appeal,” said a Fossil spokesman. “Customers want a device that can evolve to match their style, with different straps, sizes and colorways, while still having the functionality they’ve come to expect.”
Those expectations value basic functions — think activity tracking, smartphone notifications and music — over loads of complex features. In a separate report by IDC, the organization identified health and fitness as being top concerns for smartwatch owners.
“We believe that in the future every watch will have smart features. These will then be precisely tailored to the respective trends and needs of the customers,” said Nigro, who believes that the appearance of a watch is still the decisive factor in purchases.
“That’s why the connection between fashion and function is so important for the user,“ he added.