Wearable Tech’s 5-Year-Plan: Bands, Brands, and Fashionology

by omar daouk.

The term Fashionology was coined by pop star will.i.am (think Black Eyed Peas), which as you may have guessed, can be defined as the marriage between fashion and technology. Type “wearable technology” into Google and you will see that when it comes to conversations on the subject, the news points to fashion instead of the actual technology itself. If you think about it, it makes total sense: if we wear something, it becomes an extension of ourselves and expresses a great deal of who we are and what we want others around us to think. will.i.am launched his own wearable watch called the Puls. It’s point of differentiation is that it doubles as a phone (partnership with AT&T). His watch seems to be a flop (check out this review) for many reasons but most interestingly because it is not aesthetically appealing. So where will wearable tech be in 5 years?

It will be with the major fashion brands, depending greatly I’d say on how Apple does with its launch of its new watch.

I find Apple’s pricing strategy very interesting: starts at $350 for the basic edition, goes up a bit for the edition 2, and then skyrockets to $17,000. Remember when iPhone was originally introduced to the market? It was initially set at the retial price of $600, but when the market said WTF, they quickly changed it to $400. Was it a mistake that they quickly fixed, or was it part of a very smart strategy?

So when you look at the prices of the Apple watch, seeing the $17,000 version on the cover of Vogue magazine makes you want it more, but since you could never afford such a deluxe version, “hey, I’ll settle for the basic version, and maybe pick a cool color,” right?

Well, that will be the case, I predict. I also believe the price will drop over the next 3-5 years based on increased supply, and increasing accessories that go with the watch. Specifically, branded fashion accessories (if Apple is smart). People will buy the basic watch, detach Apple’s plain-Jane band, and attach a Michael Kors band (probably priced around $99, good gift for that niece who just graduated). Or for those rolling in the dough, a Louis Vuitton band retailing around $550. But most importantly, for the majority not able to spend half-a-grand on a functionless wrist-band, a band designed by Adidas (for people using the watch primarily for fitness reasons) or by Diesel (for those who wear it for fashion reasons) at a more reasonable price (let’s say, $49.99).

Great opportunity for brands, but will Apple open up and let brand partnerships form? Probably, for a cut.

 

 

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