August 13, 2020

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Fossil VP claims style will drive Middle East wearables growth

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 29 November 2016

Preston Moxcey, VP at accessories manufacturer Fossil Group and GM of wearables brand Misfit, reckons that style will be the driving factor behind the growth of wearables in the Middle East market. Wearable devices may not have exploded onto the scene in the Middle East as projected by some industry quarters but, with time, they have wiggled their way into consumers’ lives. Fitness trackers and activity monitors, for example, are a common sight on wrists, and sporting a smartwatch doesn’t warrant quite as many inquisitive stares as it did some time ago.

Moxcey commented: “There is an increasing appetite in the region for wearable gadgets that rank high in terms of their style quotient. The Middle East has always had an appreciation for chic designs and a penchant for brands with exceptional craftsmanship, and as wearables become more fashion-forward, their market share in the region is growing.”

Fitness trackers constitute a substantial portion of the region’s wearables market, according to IDC, which claims that the Middle East and Africa’s market for high-tech wearables grew 66% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016. The future of the region’s wearables market looks bright with IDC’s forecast estimating 20% year-on-year growth in the market from now up until 2020. The UAE represents a strong market for wearable tech.

Moxcey said: “Users in the UAE are quite tech savvy, and take to and interact with new technology comfortably. Additionally, the nation’s consumers are growing increasingly interested in their wellness levels. They are, however, sensitive to the aesthetic appeal of the gadgets they wear or carry on their person, which is why fashion-forward activity and sleep monitors are scoring big.”

Moxcey also noted that the market is likely to evolve to embrace other ‘smart’ fashion accessories, given growing user affinity for tech-augmented experiences. Smartphones have been at the centre of connected living, but smartwatches are continuously being enhanced with new features, functions and capabilities, and the ability to display super-relevant ‘glanceable’ data could very well graduate them to the centre of a connected ecosystem.

In line with the global growth of the wearables market, the Fossil Group has launched 100 wearables across eight brands this year. The new products fall under three key segments: activity and sleep trackers, hybrid smartwatches and full-display smartwatches. Each new Fossil smartwatch mimics a traditional watch model, but is also equipped with smart connectivity technology. The watches’ capabilities include activity tracking, sleep monitoring, Bluetooth wireless compatibility, custom goal setting and filtered notifications with dial animations and vibrations.

“This just marks a start for us in terms of infusing fashion into technology. Initially, the appeal of wearable tech was limited just to tech savvy individuals. But we’re looking to evolve wearables to have mass appeal. The line between fashion and tech is beginning to blur as manufacturers start to fill the gap in the wearables market for technology that is both functional and fashionable,” added Moxcey.

Retail influence in wearables market

Channel EMEA publishes a monthly report on conditions in the Middle East consumer tech retail channel, collecting detailed feedback from vendors, distributors and retailers. The report includes an analysis of the influence of brands at a retail level by product category. In the most recent October 2016 report, the Retail Influence Index (RII) for the Wearable Tech & Connected Devices product category was dominated by Samsung with 40% RII, followed by Apple with 31% RII.

The monthly report covers 14 separate product categories. For more information on subscribing to the Middle East consumer tech retail channel report or participating in the monthly survey, please contact stuart@channelemea.com

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