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Smartwatch Sales Down Because They're Not Fashionable Enough
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6 Aug 2017 06:45 PM EST

-by Chanel Adams, Staff Writer; Image: Smartwatch (Image Source: via Wikimedia Commons)

Smartwatches aren't going anywhere. That still doesn't mean that sales of smartwatches aren't declining.

Most people don't wear watches in general. But that doesn't stop fashion designers from getting into the smartwatch industry. Smartwatches are relying on the fashion industry to survive as sales continue to decline.

The 2017 lineup of Android Wear watches combines fashion with technology. There are new styles from Emporio Armani, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Movado, and Tommy Hilfiger. Fossil Group announced that it would offer 300 new smartwatch designs by the end of the year, with most of those smartwatches running Android Wear. It looks like the fashion industry is giving Apple's line of smartwatches a run for its money.

But smartwatches, as an industry, is still on the decline.

There are still consumer-electronic brands hanging on such as Google, Huawei, and LG. But they are outnumbered by the fashion designers offering Android Wear watches in a variety of styles and price points, reports Engadget. Google partnered with various tech and fashion brands to roll out many options for customers.

The fashion industry is a perfect fit for the declining smartwatch. It can provide knowledge of aesthetics and style. Not only does it have a creative formula, but it also has a brand appeal. Brand loyalists love wearing smartwatches by these designers.

Movado's director of public relations, Heather Cohen Sugarman, told Engadget, "If they're going online and looking for a watch anyway and there you have a beautiful watch and being able to be connected, it's only a positive thing."

"It's allowed us to tap into a younger consumer – more of a millennial-based consumer [by] attracting them to the whole techy side of things and bringing in some cool modern designs," said Sugarman.

But, most smartwatches aren't wearable and cute, and not all of them are affordable. The plastic Fitbit Flex wristband only costs $50. Then there's the Apple Watch Series 2 for $1,300, or the Exospace B55 Connected titanium watch from Breitling for $9,000. Out of this group, Fitbit is the strongest, but it's still not enough.

According to the Business Insider, "Fitbit sold 3.4 million devices last quarter, down from 5.7 million a year ago, the company reported Wednesday."

Meanwhile, Apple claims that Apple Watch sales are up 50 percent for the past quarter, but wouldn't reveal exact numbers. Consumers don't want a "wearable" watch. They want something similar to the Apple Watch or something affordable like a fitness tracker from Fitbit or Xiaomi that they won't wear every day.

There are the struggling companies like Samsung and LG that hardly made a dent in the market. Motorola gave up on its smartwatch line. The Pebble was forced to sell itself. The Jawbone shut down and liquidated its assets. Even developers started to pull their apps for smartwatches from stores.

Fitbit is stuck in the past while the Apple Watch is focusing on providing the basics: give notifications and track fitness and/or sleep. Google took it old school by using its Android Wear operating system to power on watches by designers. This is only the early days of the smartwatch. These companies will have to turn the smartwatch from a luxury gadget to a must-have gadget.

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