Wearable tech is expected to become a $30 to $50 million industry in the next three to five years, with an estimated 90 million devices shipped in 2014. Fitness trackers are dominating the market with Fitbit in the lead, accounting for 58% of all fitness tracker shipments. Smartwatches make up just 10% of all wearable device shipments, with high expectations for Apple to make the device popular.
Meanwhile, Swarovski has debuted a wearable device in partnership with Misfit that is part jewelry, part fitness tracker. It’s in the form of a crystal that can be placed in a pendant ring adorned with more Swarovski crystals, or be worn on a plastic band around the wrist. Swarovski’s SVP of Product Marketing in APAC Joan NG (who leads Swarovski Shine) says it’s designed for women who dress up for meetings in the morning but have a yoga class in the afternoon. The tracker differentiates running and walking, and users set daily goals of points instead of steps. For example, 1,000 points can be reached with 1.5 hours of walking, 30 minutes of running, or 45 minutes of swimming. (Shine is water resistant up to 50 meters.)
We interviewed Joan Ng to ask about how Swarovski Shine offers a different experience than competing devices.
1. Design is female-centric. Ng says while many brands target women, they design from a male perspective. The wristband and necklace carriers acknowledge the fact that most women rotate their jewelry frequently, and the simplicity of the design caters to women who want to wear jewelry but not gadgets.
2. It targets all women, not just athletic ones. Devices like Jawbone and Fitbit target athletic consumers, or those aspiring to be. Shine is for women who want to incorporate more activity throughout their entire day. To track a full day’s activity, a device has to be suitable for all life events. Different carriers for the Swarovski Shine make it suitable for formal and informal events.
3. Line of carriers offers variety. Ng acknowledges that a lot of fashionable wearable tech devices have come to the market in the past year, but most are individual products. Just as most consumers don’t wear the same jewelry everyday, they are unlikely to want to wear the same tech-enabled every day. Nine Swarovski Shine pieces are available for pre-order (April launch), and additional items in the works. Shine users can change the look of their jewelry without losing tracking.
4. Minimal to no charging required. Swarovski’s devices stay charged for four to six months, and a line of solar-powered crystals will be released later in the year. The solar-powered crystals will be purple, with the working name ‘energy crystal.’ Angles of the crystal will help capture more energy from sunlight than a flat screen.
For more on activity trackers, see our Insight Report on Sportswear Mobile Fitness Apps.