Mobile Wallet Smartwatches Are Fading in Popularity
The smartwatch market is shifting away from “high-end” wearables—those with mobile wallet technology—in favor of hybrid smartwatches, according to the latest study from Juniper Research. In the official report titled “Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2017-2021,” the company projects that hybrid wearables will make up 40% of the market by 2021, compared to 30% at the present time.
Hybrid smartwatches, also known as smart analog watches, combine features from the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear S2 and similar products with the functions of a standard wristwatch. At the surface, the watch looks like any other watch designed to tell time, but there are hidden elements on hybrid smartwatches that allow for push notifications when a user gets something like a text, email or Facebook notification.
Hybrid watches also provide fitness tracking data, such as the number of steps taken during the day or the amount of calories burned during a workout. However, they do not have GPS tracking and heartrate monitors like some of the more advanced Fitbit models offer.
What does all of this mean? In part, it shows a waning interest in mobile wallets, at least in the realm of smartwatches. The reported found that even though multifunctional smartwatches are the “most visible category,” their less-advanced counterparts are currently driving the market. People are more intrigued with weight loss and real-time notifications about digital communication than they are with paying for a latte through a wristband.
Juniper also found the most popular apps for smartwatches were those allowing users to customize the digital faces on the screens, implying that Android will take most of the category’s software revenue. This could also cause a transition in the market away from Apple Watch, which is currently the best selling wearable.