Signs show that smart watches are catching on in the consumer market, but the devices themselves still have a long way to go. Samsung's first Galaxy Gear, for example, sold well despite a distinct lack of features and support for only a few smartphones.
The software that consumers are waiting for in smart watches, though, isn't too far from what the devices already offer. According to research released today by market research firm ABI Research, notifications such as text and call alerts and caller ID are the most-wanted features of consumers looking to buy smart watches.
“At present, smart watch vendors are going for somewhat of a scattergun approach to smart watch design," said Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI. "They are typically over delivering with 12 or more features per product and hoping that three of them stick. This recent research clearly shows that a more targeted, segmented and use-case driven approach to design is needed.”
Though most consumers are concerned with how smart watches can help them, ABI found that the category of smart watch buyers used to wearing expensive watches want something a little different. Consumers looking to buy smart watches who typically buy watches that cost $1,000 to $5,000 most wanted voice commands as a feature and were also concerned with how fashionable a smart watch might be.
Across all consumers the price range wanted for smart phones was found to be consistent. ABI's report found that most consumers want a smart watch to cost between $50 to $200 though a large potion would also pay between $200 and $500.
“When you couple this price analysis with the price consumers usually spend on a regular watch, it is clear that there may be some opportunity to attract a premium for purchasers that traditionally buy cheaper watches," said Carlaw. "However, the opposite is true for those that typically spend upwards of $500 for a regular watch where smart features are generally not seen significant value-adds. The majority of consumers that spend over $1,000 for a regular watch indicated that their desired price point for a smart watch was in the $50-$500 range.”
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