Swiss Watchmaker Joins Smartwatch Fray As More Consumers Express Interest

Recognizing a potentially serious long-term threat from smartwatches and the Apple Watch in particular, luxury Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer announced that it’s going to build a smartwatch together with Google and Intel. We should see other major luxury watchmakers to do the same in short order.

Because they have almost nowhere else to turn, these will mostly if not exclusively be Android Wear devices. But even as watchmakers are mobilizing there’s still some uncertainty about public demand.

A new online survey from Toluna Quicksurveys polled 1,000 consumers about the Apple Watch. When asked whether they would buy it here’s how the sample, which cannot be generalized to the US population as a whole, responded:

  • 11 percent would definitely buy (59 percent male; 41 percent female)
  • 31 percent would probably buy (42 percent male; 58 percent female)
  • 36 percent probably would not buy (43 percent male; 57 percent female)
  • 22 percent definitely would not buy (60 percent male; 40 percent female)

We should probably see this population as more tech-savvy than the general US population. Indeed, the survey indicates larger numbers of potential buyers than other surveys in the market. According to the above, 42 percent of respondents were inclined to buy the Apple Watch. This is an usually high number of potential buyers.

However it confirms with other surveys that there is a market for the Apple Watch — and Android Wear by extension. A percentage of the survey respondents said they already owned a smartwatch, with Samsung and LG (both Android Wear devices) being the most common.

In terms of desired features, the survey found that pricing was biggest issue for people, creating a barrier for the Apple Watch (but we already knew that). People also wanted waterproofing, WiFi and an unrealistic week of battery life.

Most desired smartwatch features:

  1. 68 percent — reasonable price
  2. 60 percent — waterproof
  3. 55 percent — WiFi connectivity
  4. 50 percent — one week of battery life per charge
  5. 42 percent — high screen resolution
  6. 40 percent — email capability
  7. 38 percent — voice call capability
  8. 38 percent — camera
  9. 36 percent — fitness tracking
  10. 25 percent — customization (band color, face color, etc.)

Among the survey population, Millennials emphasized customization as a key feature with nearly 50 percent saying they wanted to be able to customize bands and watch faces. This is today possible with the Apple Watch and the Moto360 but not most of the other smartwatches on the market.

April 10 is when the Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order and April 24 is when it comes to stores. I previously, crudely projected that if 10 percent of the global iPhone 6 population (estimated at 125 million users) buy an Apple Watch that’s 12.5 million potential buyers — or between $4 billion and $7 billion in new revenues depending upon the average unit price.

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