Despite the hype surrounding smart watches, they are unlikely to be featured on many consumers' holiday wish lists this year, according to Gartner.
The research firm said that premium pricing paired with an unclear value proposition will steer consumers' spending toward tablets and fitness bands, leading to lackluster sales of smart watches this holiday season.
“Samsung and other well-known vendors have recently entered the smart watch space, yet the products we have seen so far have been rather uninspiring in terms of design, available apps and features,” said Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Zimmermann said fewer than 1% of premium phone users are expected to opt to replace their phone with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet.
Gartner observes that there is currently a wide spectrum of technical specifications and capabilities in current smart watch products, such as the availability and speed of processors, display technology, type of sensors, connectivity and operating systems.
Also, there are models that could potentially replace a smartphone entirely — as they include all technologies down to cellular connectivity, while others can perform message display, initiate voice calls and music streaming.
“However, there are still several significant barriers to mainstream adoption, including low interest and awareness among consumers, poor design and price,” said Zimmermann. “Users expect more than just more convenience from a new product category that claims to be innovative and priced at $200 to $300.”
Gartner added that providers must realize that the success of smart watches will not be decided by hardware alone. Apps and interoperability across devices will be a key differentiator that will bring brand loyalty and customer engagement to those vendors investing resources in fostering the developer community.