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Apple introduced the Apple Watch last week, jumping into the buzzed-about world of wearables. So, what will smart-watch shoppers be looking at when sizing up Apple and its competition?
According to August 2014 polling by GfK, price was the top criteria when it came to purchasing a smart watch among smartphone users in the UK, US, Germany and South Korea. However, cost didn’t even land in the top three in China—but brand did—and respondents in the country cared most about accuracy. Functionality was important to those in the UK, US and Germany, while consumers in South Korea cared about ease of use.
Smartphone users from each nation cited activity trackers among the top smart-watch purchase criteria, so it comes as no surprise that being able to monitor activity was the No. 1 use case for such devices in every country. Using a smart watch to actually tell time landed in second in the UK, US and Germany, while respondents from South Korea and China ranked passing phone calls as No. 2. Basic apps were the third most popular use case among respondents in the US and South Korea, while using smart watches for navigation took third place in the UK and China.
A September 2014 report by Cowen and Company forecast the lifestyle and entertainment wearables category—including multifunctional smart watches, glasses and even jewelry—would maintain the highest total wearable device sales in both the US and worldwide between this year and 2020. And smart watches were expected to rule the segment, accounting for around 60% of US lifestyle and entertainment wearable device sales in 2014 and expanding that share to nearly 72% by 2020.
Canalys recently estimated that the number of wearable band shipments worldwide would jump 129% between 2014 and 2015 to hit 43.2 million units, with smart bands and watches—devices like the Apple Watch, which are capable of running third-party apps—accounting for 28.2 million of that total.
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