Mother, bark, and spit are just three of 23 words that were first spoken by human beings some 15,000 years ago. These three words marked the beginning of verbal communication. In no time, communication evolved, and metamorphised from sending smoke signals, to letters on pigeons and trunk calls. Fast forward to 2022, humans are contemplating the need and the impact of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and Metaverse.
The consumer technology industry is undergoing a historic transformation. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2021, the pandemic reinforced the usage of consumer electronic products, including smartphones, wearables, TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, etc. This drives consumers towards a digital lifestyle and seamless demand concerning personalised products and services.
Additionally, the households became more tech-savvy with higher penetration rates of internet, knowledge, and affordable gadgets. This also led to adoption of smart wearables that helped ease the everyday life of people. From answering calls while driving to staying updated on work/college notifications, smart wearables became the trendiest fashion and functionality statement.
These palm sized gadgets have taken the world by storm from health freaks using smartwatches to optimise their workouts, gamers using neckband earphones/ TWS to enhance mobile phone gaming experience and fashionistas pairing earbuds and smartwatches with their outfit. A study by Cognizant Solutions stated that these devices are generally not only perceived as "technology" but also as "fashion" and are therefore giving rise to the concept of "fashionology."
Considering the change in which consumers have started to interact with smart wearables, it has become necessary for brands to be inspired by the current movements in fashion, art, and music, the products need to be extremely design centric. Followed by a focus on aesthetics, user friendly features and heavy attention to details.
A crucial point to note here is the pricing of products. The smart wearables market is a growing industry with new brands entering and creating a niche for themselves. To ensure customer retention, brands need to ensure dynamic pricing that is affordable, as well as competitive.
Today, the millennials and GenZ have changed the ways the market operates. They seek the latest and premium features at a price point that does not burn a hole in their pockets, especially for those buying a smartwatch or earbuds from their monthly pocket money. Although, what's critical is that brands understand that they cannot simply bring down the price of the products by cutting down on quality. The pricing of the product should be a balance between power packed features and specs and product innovation.
Now, what is even more interesting to note is that regular wrist watch wearers are slowly shifting towards smartwatches. This is not only true for customers but brands as well. The ever-flourishing wrist watch brands have realised the opportunity the smartwatches market holds and are now grasping the concept of evolving technology to cater to their customers.
Well, it is only fair that we delve into the hearables segment. Have you seen anyone today without a pair of TWS or earbuds plugged in? As far as I am concerned, today I see everyone plugged in either vibing to their favourite music or attending calls while furiously typing on their laptops to take down points.
The audio wearables industry has witnessed untethered growth the last two years, with consumers recognising the need to attend calls hands free and without getting tangled in wires. This was accompanied by the need to block background noise, minimise disturbance, and adjustable audio settings.
Be it a TWS or earbuds, a key ask for customers is the big battery life, fast charging capabilities, and ANC. Therefore, it becomes necessary for brands to tend to this demand and work towards differentiated solutions.
This brings me to another important discussion point, customer awareness. With the smart wearables market growing steadily and attracting customers across age groups, the most involved being the youngsters of the country. The millennials and Gen Z make up most of the population of India which makes them the most aware and difficult set of customers to please. The products and services of the brand should be relatable, effortless, useful as well as aesthetically pleasing.
The changing trends show that a significant driver of the smart wearables category is the younger population not because they are the biggest market today, but since they are a genuine source of knowledge, feedback, and suggestions for any brand. In this incredibly dynamic market, the brands need to explore the universe of the youngsters and provide irresistible solutions that are also easy on the pockets.
So next time when you are on the lookout for a gadget, be sure to consult a youngster because you'll be amazed at the industry and product knowledge they possess to make the right purchasing decision at the right time. Thereby even making developers put on their thinking hats to offer new and innovative products.
While smartwatches and TWS/ earbuds are the latest trends, the future holds something even more interesting – normalising use of smart gadgets like smart glass, clothing, or jewellery. Imagine a day when your Invisalign could indicate your body's need of water, or a ring reminding you that you have been typing for too long and need to rest your fingers and arms. This is the future of smart wearables; this is not near but not far either. Although the segment is still in its nascent stage, the shift to these smart gadgets will be seamless.
In conclusion, the wearables market is growing at a faster pace than expected resulting in innovative products and services, every day. It is only right to say that the future of technologies is here, and the next step would be the amalgamation of wearables with IoT to drive efficiency and taking smart wearables to the next level. We witnessed the demand for smartwatches and TWS shoot up to create a work life balance and monitor their day. Brands would eventually see a surge in demand for gadgets like same clothing, glasses, helmets etc., to make their day to day routine more harmonious.
The author is the CEO at Dizo India.
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