We’ve been bullish on the Apple Watch since its announcement last Fall. Despite intial mixed reviews, we believe that wearables will continue to grow, as an always-on lifestyle will require more streamlined management of information. One of the push-backs we’ve heard is that despite its positioning as a high-design accessory, complete with precious metals and refined-design bands, it is still a square black box on your wrist. Its inherent lack of femininity has been a barrier to wider adoption for women from a style and fashion perspective. Store checks also reveal a number of fence-sitting consumers, hoping that hardware updates may address some of the perceived limits such as battery life, and some believing that generation-1 products are inherently flawed. However, during the end of June, Apple quietly published its design specification for third-party watch bands, meaning that official third-party and designer options are around the corner, we predict arriving by holiday 2015. These will join a growing herd of watch-band hacks that have already launched or are seeking crowdfunding support.
We believed from day-one that designer watch brands are a must-have accessory for the Apple Watch to gain wider acceptance and is a much needed line extension for designers as softness from handbags and designer watches takes its toll. In case you haven’t heard, YOY watch sales from moderate to aspirational price points continue to decrease at alarming rates in the U.S. and global markets due to not enough newness, in terms of fashion and technology. Increased store availability, a massive Apple Watch software update in the Fall and rumored new case materials means adoption should continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace than the iPhone.
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