2016 Could be a Huge Year for Smartwatches in China with Apple Watch being the Desired Status Symbol
In a recent survey of the China smart watch market, "ABI Research found that close to 67% of respondents plan to buy a smart watch in the next 12 months. The heightened demand is due to the wide range of choices that local manufacturers offer consumers, as well as to the products' affordable pricing, good design, and comprehensive feature set. Additionally, some of the region's richest consumers consider branded smart watches, like the Apple Watch, to be a desired status symbol."
Though beyond status, "Chinese consumers are most interested in smart watches that are not cumbersome but comfortable to wear and that clearly display phone call alerts and caller ID," says Marina Lu, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. "The manufacturers who are going to be most successful in this increasingly crowded and competitive landscape are those that focus on designing visually pleasing, easy-to-use interfaces."
Though in the end, it may come down to pricing structure where the smart watch market could see device divergence. According to the survey results, while 42% of respondents would spend between $150 and $310 on a smartwatch, 36% believe a reasonable price to be below $150, and 22% are likely to spend over $310.
ABI Research finds China's average selling price for the smart watch to be around $166 in 2016, hitting the market at a sweet spot that partially explains Chinese consumers' strong desire to buy a smart watch. "It is likely that some consumers will gladly pay a higher price for a reputable and customized smart watch, but most will probably choose the cheaper options," concludes Lu.
Apple Watch 2 is likely to launch sometime this fall in time for the holiday shopping season. Rumors point to a slimmer design and a few other refinements to make the watch more appealing. Further down the road, Apple is considering a smart band and adding wireless charging. Apple's CEO recently emphasized the growing importance of Apple Watch in the area of health care at an Amsterdam tech show.