October 3, 2016

A recent story on MEDIA POST caught my eye. Smartwatches will probably sell 20 million units this year and they are expected to ship 32% annually over the next five years, according to a new report by BI Intelligence. By 2021, the number of independently smartwatches will hit 30 million. Also, more and more smartwatches can be used to pay for things. So, what is wrong with this picture? The catch is that smartwatch growth faces a number of barriers to adoption according to the MEDIA POST story:

Limited perceived value – An earlier BI Intelligence study found that 51% of consumers didn’t see the point of owning a smartwatch.

Smartwatches are not fashionable – The wrist devices are not yet an attractive accessory, like luxury traditional watches.

Who needs or wants all that data – Having employees gain access to large volumes of data is not enough to generate savings for many businesses. Hence, companies are less inclined to provide wearable devices for employees. In fact, many businesses are concerned about security. Different watches also run on different operating systems, which can cause some headaches for technical departments.

The marketing lesson here: if you are introducing a new product you need to research and understand the barriers to adoption even if sales are promising. Most firms do some new product research, but I suspect that do not do barriers to adoption research. They should.

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