While Apple Inc. gets major hip points with smartphone owners for its smartwatch, it might be pricing itself out of the market.

A new study of around 2,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers from Juniper Research reveals just one in five consumers are willing to pay more than $175 for a smartwatch. With the Apple Watch starting at around $350, that means most consumers won’t shell out the cash required for the wrist gadget and accessory—even if they think it is it the coolest.

Apple was named the “coolest” brand for wearables by consumers polled. It was followed by Samsung, Google Inc., LG and Sony. However, when it comes to smartwatches, more than 75% preferred those manufactured by either Apple or Samsung.

In its report, Juniper says the value proposition for wearable devices still remains fuzzy. One exception is fitness wearables, such as the FitBit activity tracker, which have a clear purpose. They consequently have become the most popular wearables category. They are also less expensive than multipurpose smartwatches like the Apple Watch, says Juniper Research analyst James Moar.

“As well as a more definite use, fitness devices also win on value,” Moar says. “They are the least costly wearables in the market, and the only category consistently under $175, which our survey identifies as the price ceiling for most consumers.”


Other new research on wearables and mobile technology from Argus Insights finds that Apple users are the happiest with their devices—particularly with the iPad and Apple Watch. In its research combing 942,000 consumer reviews from January to September 2015 it finds that after Apple, Microsoft has the next highest consumer delight score. Microsoft reported a steady increase in satisfaction in early 2015, driven by satisfied smartphone, Microsoft Band activity tracker and Surface Pro customers. The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s hybrid between a laptop and a tablet.

 “Over the past year we have watched Microsoft’s success in devices poking holes in Apple’s walls with their tablet and wearables offerings, “ says John Feland, CEO, Argus Insights. “Unlike Google and Amazon, which offer inexpensive hardware offerings meant to entice more consumers, Microsoft has focused on crafting new experiences built on solid hardware that is delighting consumers.”

While not as highly praised as Apple iPads, consumer reviews of the Apple Watch are more positive than those of other wearables from Motorola, Samsung and Fitbit. Apple Watch users report the most positive feedback for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport, while the more expensive Apple Watch and Edition get more lukewarm reviews, Argus says.

The Argus report also says:

  • Consumers have high praise for the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker that answers commands and that is increasingly able to control other connected devices around the home. Smart home products produce the lowest reviews across brands, with the exception of Amazon’s Echo.
  • Samsung users tend to be pleased with their tablets, but report frustrations with smart home devices.
  • Early analysis of the iPhone 6S, which launched in late August, finds that consumer adoption of the 6S line is considerably slower than that of the iPhone 6.

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