2015 has been the year of wearables HYPE. Want proof? The number of Google search links for “wearables” (25 million) exceeds the number of units sold last year (19 million, according to Juniper Research). On April 24th, the first wearables wearable PLATFORM was launched. Apple Watch, it was said would redefine the role of wearables.
Consumers are loyal to platforms, not gadgets. The largest wearables category, activity trackers, has disloyal customers. Reports show that more than 40 percent of activity tracker owners quit using their devices within the first six months. By next year, demand will plateau at 32 million units and the market will be driven by price, as evidenced by Xioami’s $13 Fitness Tracker or $7 Smart Watch.
Declining activity in wearables (credit:Endeavor Partners)
Apple Watch is the first wearables PLATFORM story in the US $4 trillion healthcare sector. Consider that more than one third of Americans are obese. This type of healthcare crisis requires holistic platforms, integrating patient data and leveraging Big Data, to encourage sustainable behavioral change. Just as Cupertino partnered with record labels for the iPod and wireless carriers for iPhone, the company has encouraged players across the industry value chain to leverage the power of 700 million iPhone owners.
Medical & Scientific Research Community: ResearchKit, released last week, is an open source framework allowing medical researchers to access large populations for participation in scientific research studies.
Developer Community: Healthkit was integrated into Apple’s latest iOS 8 operating system, allowing physicians to connect with patients and health apps to interact with one another. To date, 35 Smartwatch health applications have been slated for release.
Hospitals: Apple announced partnerships with 14 of the Top 23 US hospitals.
Consumers are loyal to integrated platforms, not gadgets. Harnessing the developer, research and hospital communities will finally create a market for wearables. Apple Watch orders have already surpassed 2.5 million units in 2015.
2016 will mark the future of wearables and the End of Wearables Hype.