Following the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and with Google’s tech glasses expected to launch in stores in early 2014, we ask the PCR Retail Advisory Panel what they think of wearable tech…
DEAN KRAMER, HEAD OF COMPUTING CATEGORY, DIXONS RETAIL
“We’d like to stock Google Glass – we think it’s great technology – but it depends on whether Google wants to bring it to the UK. This is certainly an emerging category – we will bring it to life and begin to understand what consumers are looking for over the next 12 months.
We expect wearable tech to grow steadily as manufacturers look to find the applications and designs customers are looking for. There is bound to be a product which sparks interest in the category.
We think we’ll see the category segment into specific customer usage such as health, social and GPS. Once there is a device at a mass market price point with a clearly focused usage, we think wearable tech will be big.”
SIMON BARRY, TECHNOLOGY TRADING MANAGER, ARGOS
“I hope to have the opportunity to trial Google Glass for myself at some point in the near future.
I think there is always a novelty for new tech, but like the smartwatches it may need to go through a few incarnations before mass adoption. As a major electronics retailer in the UK, we are of course exploring stocking the product as customers will expect us to offer it, although it’s too early to say for sure. Wearable tech is exciting but evolving. We have a number of options on offer at Argos and we are seeing steady interest from customers.”
CK, MD, YOYOTECH
“So far, the response to wearable technology has been ultra-enthusiastic from the press – and completely indifferent from the public. Even the biggest distributors have steered clear of holding stock.
So far, in a world with a population of seven billion, even Sony has struggled to sell 15,000 units. But we all know that this will change. I am expecting the market to be around 30 million units by 2017 – and that kind of volume will help drive innovation. If any of those innovations allow for a new kind of gaming, then I’m sure YoYoTech’s sales would reflect that. For now, Glass is a gadget aimed at those with high disposable income. I think it will end up a little more popular than 3D, but far less popular than 4K.”
CRAIG HUME, DIRECTOR, UTOPIA COMPUTERS
“I would class myself as a bit of a geek, and as such I am very excited about the future of wearable technology like Glass. I already use my smartphone to track my runs, but imagine an adhesive strip that could communicate with my smartphone and remind me when I am dehydrated or when I need to apply sun cream.
This kind of technology is not as far away as you might think. ABI Research is forecasting smartwatch sales of around 1.2 million in 2013, so this is exciting news for retailers who are looking for new products to sell to their customers. The future of wearable tech has the potential to improve our health and change the way we interact with our surroundings. In the meantime I will be looking for new products Utopia can stock now, which will allow our customers to get in on the ground floor with wearable tech.”
GAVIN HOLDER, DIRECTOR, GHI COMPUTERS
“The eagerly anticipated consumer release of Google Glass in 2014 will no doubt be a winner due to the tech behemoth’s ability to make all things succeed. I also have little doubt that Glass will succeed in putting masses of margin in the tills for retailers. The future possibilities of wearable tech seem endless, with the health industry likely to be the first to benefit in the market, as there will no doubt be an abundance of low cost devices ideal for a health-conscious audience available pretty quickly.”