Wearable technologies refer to electronic devices that operate as computers and can be worn, held, or attached to the human skin (Buenaflor et al., 2013). The purpose of these devices is to continuously monitor the users actions and environment and help them to enhance their productivity and efficacy (Gao et al., 2017; Buenaflor et al., 2013) through the devices tracking abilities and data analytics, (Schull, 2016) without causing disruption to the user.
Historically, WT have already been successfully exploited in the fields of education, sports, and entertainment.
However, over the past few years, the industrys ability to converge with facilitating technologies including low priced sensors, Bluetooth, wireless networks, and artificial intelligence to create a diverse array of products, has garnered significant attention amongst the consumer. As such, new innovations have appeared catering to an array of domains. This is especially true for the health and fitness domains, who have seen the most sales of WT devices totalling(worth) millions in 2017.
*FACTORS DRIVING THIS MARKET.
Growth in desire for health-related knowledge and awareness, due to increase in obesity levels and issues associated with it.
Ease of use of devices
Technological developments and advancements,
High level of competition
There is an array of product categories within this market such as hearables, smartwatches, and smart clothing that are being offered in entertainment, lifestyle, health, and fitness segments. As consumer demand rises, companies must continuously innovate and exploit the smart applications that will give them a competitive advantage. Fitbit Inc, Apple, Bragi are just some of the big competitors in the market, developing exciting products.
Strategic partnerships are arising aiming to gain a competitive advantage. Bragi developed earbuds offering fitness tracking, Apple Watch recently added heart monitoring, and there are a host of other innovations occurring.
Revenue of the market sales, worth value,
Driven by changing consumer preferences, and continuous innovations, the market for wearable technology is currently experiencing a period of robust growth. Revenue for this market reached 26.43 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 (Statista, 2018) and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% between 2018-2021, to be worth $45 billion (Cision prnews, 2018). World-wide shipments for wearables reached 174.26 million in 2018 (Statista, 2018) and early predictions suggest that by the last quarter of 2021, shipments of wearables will be over 250 million (Cision prnewswire, 2018; Fagerberg et al., 2017 ). Rising incomes, convenience of devices, falling prices of wearables due to increase in competitors and changes in the mental paradigm are factors encouraging growth.
Currently, the most popular product category is Fitness trackers. A report by P&S market research said they will generate $48.2 billion by 2023, (P&S market research, 2018). This is likely due to higher demand for continuous health monitoring, use of exercise apps as interest in fitness grows and increases in disposable income. (Fagerberg et al., 2017 & P&S)
In the device category, Smartwatches accounted for $16.2 billion of end-user spending in 2018 (Gartner, 2018) However, according to reports by Gartner, ear wearable (hearables) shipments will surpass smartwatches by 43 million in 2022, with hearables raking in 158 million units shipped compared with 115 million (smartwatch).
It is possible that developments in technology will allow for successive ear-worn devices to feature smart assistance and thus allow for a variety of tasks to be switched to users hearable devices. As such, it could reduce smartphone usage, as it eliminates the need for them (Gartner, 2018). This is of course good news for the likes of SOUL electronics run free bio pro.
The Diffusion of innovation & the Wearable technology market.
The hearable devices market is active in several geographic regions including Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa and South America, Asia. The adopters of wearable technology are primarily focused in affluent economies, such as the USA, where ownership of fitness WT is at approx. 35% of devices such as Fitbit (Ipsos, 2018). According to Everett Rogers (1962) Diffusions of Innovations theory, wearable technologies in the USA have managed to cross the chasm to capture the Early Majority segment, this means movement into the mass consumer market and significant financial gains. As shown below, (Figure 1) when market share is at approx. 25%, the early majority are active within the industry. The Diffusion of innovation theory was developed to explain the decision-making progression of consumers when adopting new technologies, as well as how innovations (technologies) diffuse (become known) and speed of them (LaMorte, 2018 cited Everett, 1962). For countries like the USA, the next step for this technology is capturing the Late Majority consumers. This however requires focusing on cost leadership – Price. Everett states that those in the late majority market have characteristics which are more reluctant, slower, and cautious. They are also of low social standing and financial standing. Therefore, the strategies needed to penetrate this customer segment are price promotions, discounts, and special offerings/giveaways. Although more competitors are entering the market and causing a downward pressure on prices, this is still not enough for the late majority market.
However, as Rogers rightly says, the diffusion of innovations establishes itself in different ways and rates depending on culture, social systems, and type of adopters (Lumen Learning, no date). This is evident in that despite such optimism of WT in the US, it still faces challenges in seeing high adoption levels in other affluent economies like UK, China, Japan, Germany. Failure to capitalise on these countries means missing out on revenue. Technology adoption is difficult because some people may not deem it acceptable to use unless a very large majority have it. In addition, once people have a certain product, this makes them reluctant to venture into the new things. They believe they dont need anything else. There are also issues of privacy, functionality in comparison to smartphones and tablets, as well as ability to self-express determines attitudes towards wearables techs and thus hearables.
Integral that the right communication mediums are used to appeal to the varying customer profiles present within the wearable technology industry.
Consumer electronics life cycle is shortening
Preliminary costs are high for users
Sensitive information about users could be exploited
Factors Affecting the Success of SOUL Electronics
Customer segment are professional athletes, amateur runners, tech enthusiasts (innovators). In the US, nearly 60 million people participate in running, jogging and trail running (Statista, 2017). The activity encourages all people, with varying personal incentives (weight loss, competitive practice, entertainment), and skill level to join as there are no barriers to entry compared with the gym (monthly fee). However, since running promotes high levels of autonomy, individuals are often disillusioned about their abilities (do it yourself mentality) resulting in severe injuries and deterrence from continuing running. As such, tailored guidance and feedback is crucial to maintain consistent and injury free participation for less experienced runners (Janssen et al, 2017). This gap, presents an opportunity for SOUL electronics and their run free pro bio earphones to offer a solution in the runners market.
Ingrained within the earphones are sensors that monitor and track a variety of different components integral to correct running form, which aides in the prevention of injury. includes step length, step width, balance, cadence and stance & lots more. If these factors fall out of optimal range, coaching in ear will tell you what to adjust to correct. The benefits to the user are that avoiding injury means less disruption to their lives, no health costs, more motivated to continue running wellness.
Soul electronics should market towards individuals with high disposable incomes, as more likely to invest in/use sports wearables. The other benefits with the device is its ease of use, sound quality, comfy, Discrete concern in many cities, running alone is robbery. This device is small enough that it cannot be seen. Good brand image, known for producing Bluetooth headphones, have a good base of customers celebrity endorsements such as Ludacris. For professional athletes if coach isnt there, act as replacement routine not disrupted but instead used in companion.
However, consumer behaviour has to change in order for the success of run free bio. Many people trust the traditional aspect of having a face to face person coaching them. It may be difficult for soul electronics to shift mindsets. If they communicate clearly to the innovators and early adopters of the earphones, could cross the chasm to gain more market share. Also, there are concerns about the accuracy issues of the earphones. An industry article by Wareable stated that Soul electronics competitors Both have devices that measure from the foot/lower leg (Stables, 2018) It may be difficult for the run pro to match up to this accuracy.
Jabra, Kuaifit, Samsung and Apple are some of the key competitors present in the sports wearable market that Soul Electronics must compete with. Focusing in on Jabra Sport Coach, which has a 3 star rating, this product is incredibly similar to the run free earphones, in that it coaches the user through their exercise workout, measuring components such as cadence, steps, calories burned. The differences differ in the pricing of the products with Jabra Sport Coach retailing at $90 compared with Run free retailing at $149.99. Consumers who may be running enthusiasts or perhaps novice, may choose the Jabra Sport earphones due to its cheapness in comparison. The product itself is not a daily necessity and some people may not find the price for the run free justifiable. However, multiple reviews for the JBC stated dissatisfaction in the poor battery life, which lasts up to five hours compared with run free 11 hours life. which could see them (SE) capturing greater portion of the market. Soul Electronics should use the mistakes of competitors to improve their product, so you can capitalise on what they failed on. First earphones using AI coach. Real-time coaching.
Partnerships, new entrants & commoditisation are competitive threats facing Run free pro. Multitude of sports watches, hearables etc. that track your running and focus on heart rate sensors. It has now become the norm. so many new companies, out with new products that soul electronics needs to distinguish themselves from the rest.
Customer satisfaction is an important component to a products success. The Kano model was developed to classify and prioritise customer needs based on how they affect customers satisfaction (Xu et al., 2008 citied Kano, 1984). In a fierce environment such as the wearable technologies environment, it is crucial that the run free earphones stand out and go beyond customers product expectations. The more satisfied customers are, the greater chance they will spread knowledge of your product to family, friends, and online media sites, which could potentially result in purchase.
Kano posits that there are four integral attributes to a product:
Must Be features: features of the product that are expected by the user. The absence or lacklustre workings of them will lead to poor functionality and thus severe disappointment and will be of no value to the customer (Xu et al., 2008). In the case of the Run free earphones, customers expect to hear sound through the earphones. If a customer receives the product and it does not work, then Soul Electronics would have failed at the most basic level. Another feature that could arguably be considered a must be is Wireless and Bluetooth connectivity.
One-dimensional features: known as performance attributes idea that the more we provide, the greater the satisfaction, therefore it appears linear. The battery life and sound quality are under this scope. For example, if a long-distance runner was using the earphones and it suddenly cut out on them quicker than expected, this will deter the customer from further use of the product and prompt negative reviews and promotion of the product.
Attractive features: surprises to the user/customer. Features they didnt know they wanted or needed but the addition of them has made them highly satisfied. In ear coaching, is different and new or reflective light.
Indifferent features: customers dont care about this.