Apple Watch Doesn't Bring Expected Boost to Smartwatch Market

Tim Maytom

Apple WatchConsumer interest in smartwatches has stayed the same as in November 2014, despite the high-profile launch of Apple's first wearable device, the Apple Watch, and the introduction of contactless pay via wearables.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel surveyed 15,000 smartphone users about their attitudes towards smartwatches and wearables and found that only 16 per cent were interested in purchasing a smartwatch, the same as in November.

This was despite the Apple Watch resulting in a slight increase in smartwatch adoption in the UK, up from one per cent to 1.3 per cent. Wearable penetration is expected to rise to around 12 per cent this year.

The uncertain use case for smartwatches has been a significant barrier to penetration in the past, with "owning the latest tech" remaining as the main reason given to purchase one. However, this may be changing, with the top reason for not wanting a smartwatch shifting from not needing one to cost, with only 20 per cent of those looking to buy willing to pay over £300.

"Of the 84 per cent who said they weren't interesting in buying a smartwatch, the top reason is 'it's too expensive'. £299 for the entry level Apple Watch is above the amount most consumers are willing to pay," said Imran Choudhury, consumer insights analyst for Kantar Worldpanel.

"In November 2014, the top barrier was not seeing the use as their 'smartphone meets their needs.' So the amount of people who don't understand what a smartwatch is has dropped, suggesting the noise being made about smartwatches is being heard."