TWICE:What kind of an impact do you think wearables may have on sales during the second half?
Fred Towns, president, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games: The industry will continue to see a boom of wearable health and fitness-monitoring devices come to market. These devices will increasingly incorporate biometric capabilities such as monitoring blood pressure and glucose levels. As wearable health and fitness devices are quickly becoming an essential part of the consumer lifestyle, they will continue to drive sales in the second half of 2014.
We’ll continue to see the influx of wristbands but the category will also see health and fitness-monitoring technology built into trendy headphones and even athletic clothing. The challenge is determining which vendors will rise to the top as long-term players. Devices that go beyond their functionality and act as a fashion accessory are the ones that consumers will buy and wear in the long run and also the products that will drive the most sales.
Bill Stewart, founder/CEO, Petra Industries: Wearable tech was a hot topic during International CES, and many of the products are now coming to market. We’re seeing new vendors entering the segment as well as other manufacturers expanding their offerings. With warmer weather arriving across the country, health and fitness tracking bands and watches will be popular at least through the third quarter. In addition, these wearables should also sell well as gift items in the fourth quarter.
Dennis Holzer, executive director, Power- House Alliance: While this category has a lot of new “neat” products now available, the companies behind them have not done enough yet to alert the consumer to their features and availability. Look for this category over the next year to really begin to gain strength and footing, promoting the health features and benefits they offer. Also look for many of the electronic companies, because of their engineering capabilities, to enter this market with similar health and lifestyle products as soon as early 2015.
Curt Hayes, president/CFO, Capitol: No doubt there will be a great deal of curiosity, but wearables won’t have a strong impact until next year when the selection will grow several fold.
Alexandra Harding, vendor management director, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics (IMCE): With the increase of broader retail placement and inventory availability, wearables are expected to be a significant growth category for IMCE in the second half of 2014, particularly during the holiday gift giving season.
Rick Wigen, product management VP, Almo: 2014 may be the tipping point for wearables. As the appearance, the feature sets, and the ecosystems make these more desirable, wearables could see strong growth this year.