Paul Skeldon’s insight into the fast changing mobile channel.
One in five adults wears a smart watch or fitness strap and by 2020, the wearable tech market will be worth 30 billion euros globally – proving the market is one to watch. Globally, this equates to 105 million wearables shipped in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 10%, according to the latest Wearable Technology market report from Futuresource Consulting.
To date, technical features have led the race, with most devices competing solely on battery life and capabilities. But technology is no stranger to fashion; from smart fabrics, models wearing Google Glass on the runway, to fashion designer Adam Selman sporting the next generation of payment enabled dresses on the catwalk – wearable tech is increasingly claiming its place in fashion.
“Technology is getting faster and smaller, speaking to those same consumers seeking minimalist and seamless, but well-designed options. Now technology and fashion brands need to work together to end consumer confusion over whether devices are fashion accessories, tech hardware or fitness tools,” says Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions Mastercard.
Fashion and technology both act as extensions of oneself and for wearable technology to be attractive to consumers it must appeal to both. Be it a diamond cuff, a metallic watch, or gold-plated ring, smart jewellery that allows consumers to unlock new goods while looking good is essential to the next stage of wearable technology’s growth. It’s a promising way for brands to enter a new market and reach new, connected and digitally native customers – wearables are multi-use, but cheaper than most mobile devices.
Looking to the brands, Apple regained its position as the largest connected watch vendor during Q4, totalling 20 million Apple Watch shipments during the year, however in volume terms it has been challenged by Xiaomi throughout the year whom have gained in volume rankings during 2018. Fitbit and Fossil remain challengers to Apple’s dominance on the smartwatch market, with Fossil competing through offering a wide range of smartwatch styles and Fitbit competing on price, with its $200 Versa. In 2019, we expect vendors to benefit from a strong market for smartwatches, with tailwinds driven by replacement and upgrade purchases generating strong market growth.
Nearly half of UK consumers who use retailers’ apps do so to get notifications about promotions, finds a study by GlobalData. This is good news for retailers, who should ensure their apps include this functionality to promote discounted products and encourage browsing, says the analytics company’s latest report.
Hannah Thomson, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The popularity of this feature among consumers suggests that this form of communication may be more effective than the more-established method of an email newsletter.
“Retailers must however ensure their apps deliver the functionality consumers value, such as the ability to make and save wishlists and to give updates on deliveries, as limited storage on mobile devices means consumers are selective about which apps they install.”
Retailers which can encourage shoppers to use their apps can expect to pick up additional spend on impulse purchases. Some 53.3% of consumers agreed that most purchases made using smartphones were impulse buys.
Thomson adds: “This will benefit retailers of discretionary products, such as fashion and decorative homewares.”
Amazon is allowing brands and retailers on its site to live stream product demos and sales pitches in a new service using nothing more than a smartphone.
Reminiscent of TV shopping channels, Amazon Live sits on the retailer or brand’s product details page and on the Amazon Live home page and allows live interaction between viewers and the retailer while the ‘broadcast’ is in progress. Each broadcast is then also archived for future use by shoppers.
While the Live Stream is in progress, shoppers can talk to the retailer or brand – or other shoppers – using live chat and the products being featured in the Live Stream are available to buy along the side of the video player.
Live Steam isn’t available to all, however, being only available to Professional Sellers on Amazon’s Brand Registry and isn’t currently open to retailers in China and Hong Kong.
If you qualify, then it is relatively is easy to set up, working off a simple iOS app. The brand or retailer downloads the Creator Apple app, which then allows the stream to be filmed and streamed from an iPhone or, using a live stream encoder, a professional camera can be used.