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Samsung Gear S3 may capitalise on India’s smartwatch market

tech Updated: Jan 10, 2017 20:17 IST
Samsung Gear S3,Smartwatch,Fitness tracker

Samsung Gear S3 frontier smartwatches are on display at the Samsung booth during CES 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 5.(AFP Photo)

Samsung may capitalise on the yet to be tapped smartwatch market in the country with the launch of its latest wearable iteration- Samsung Gear S3 - priced at Rs 28,900.

“All smartwatch-makers such as Moto, Huawei and Asus have been struggling to get the product right. While some had issues with design, price and use-cases, all of them suffered from battery issues. The Gear S3 has got all of this right. With a battery of nearly 3 days, more use cases such as able to type on screen just like scribble on the Apple Watch and a cheaper price (Apple Watch 2 has a starting price of Rs 32,900), it might just be able to woo consumers,” Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner told HT.

“The abandonment rate is quite high, relative to the usage rate. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.”

“Nowadays, most expensive watches come at this price point and if Samsung can market it the right way, then consumers will choose a smartwatch over a regular watch,” Shobhit Srivastava, research analyst for Mobile Devices and ecosystem, told HT.

He also said that the battle will mostly be with Apple, which seems to be the only other serious contender in the category followed by Moto.

“Samsung also has an advantage now over the Apple Watch as it works on both iOS and Android devices,” Srivastava said, adding, that Samsung on Monday at Consumer Electronics Show had announced that its older Gear Fit 2, Gear S2 and the S3 will now work on iOS devices.

Srivastava said Apple swatches only work with Apple iPhones and Apple will need a solid iPhone user-base in India to go toe-to-toe with Samsung.

Read| Samsung launches Tizen-based Gear S3 at Rs 28,500, works on iPhones too

Both Tripathi and Srivastava said that other Android watches lacked use cases and were slower with the new Android Wear Marshmallow update.

“Smart watches market is yet to mature in India and thus we have seen lesser number of good devices. Samsung Gear S3 might be one of them,” Tripathi said.

A recent report from Gartner also points to a similar trend. The abandonment rate of smartwatches is 29%, and 30% for fitness trackers, because people do not find them useful, said a report by research and advisory firm Gartner.

This was a serious problem, said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

“The abandonment rate is quite high, relative to the usage rate. To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide. Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.”

The report further said the adoption of smartwatch (10%) and fitness trackers was 19% and was still in the early stages.

Also, only 8% of consumers have used VR glasses/head-mounted displays (excluding cardboard types).

It also claims that people typically purchase smartwatches and fitness trackers for personal use, with 34% of fitness trackers and 26% of smartwatches given as gifts.

“Continued growth in the adoption of smartwatches and fitness trackers will now be from mainstream consumers instead of early technology adopters,” said McIntyre.

“The greatest hurdle for fitness tracker and smartwatch providers is the consumer perception that the devices do not offer a compelling enough value proposition.”

While the US is the leading smartwatch market with 12% adoption, according to the report, UK and Australia are trailing behind with 9% and 7% adoption.

“The key to creating a value proposition to interest mainstream consumers is lifestyle messages around health tracking and the convenience of receiving alerts on the wrist, instead of the phone,” said McIntyre.

“The benefit will increase as these devices gain the capability to function more independently from the phone.”

“Smartwatch usage is clearly higher among people 44 years old and younger. More than half of people who use a smartwatch (58%) use it every day, and those who don’t (33%) use it at least several times a week,” she said.

First Published: Jan 10, 2017 20:16 IST