Narrative: Wearables are Struggling
Each narrative page (like this) has a page describing and evaluating the narrative, followed by all the posts on the site tagged with that narrative. Scroll down beyond the introduction to see the posts.
Narrative: Wearables Are Struggling (Dec 27, 2016)
This content is restricted to paid subscribers to the Tech Narratives service. You can sign up on this page for a 30-day free trial, which will give you access to all the content on the site including the daily comments, narrative essays, subscriber forums, and other restricted features. If you’re already a subscriber, you can sign in using the link below.
If you’re already a member, you can sign in here.
CNBC reports that Apple has recently held discussions with insurance company Aetna about providing Apple Watches on a subsidized basis to at least some of its 23 million customers. Aetna already has a program to provide Apple Watches to its employees, and both Apple and Fitbit have been talking to a variety of healthcare companies about partnerships to get wider distribution of their devices. This is the first real sign that Apple might do a deal which would be much larger in scale than anything that’s been contemplated so far. For context, Apple has likely sold just over 30 million Watches in total so far, so getting Watches to even half of Aetna’s members would be a massive boost to the business. Such a deal would likely see Apple supplying Watches at less than the usual retail price, both as a bulk discount and because the cost of acquisition would be much lower than a typical retail purchase, while Aetna would subsidize the remaining cost for its members on the basis that fitness trackers tend to improve health and fitness and therefore lower the odds of a medial issue that requires insurance coverage. The rationale there would be much the same as for insurers providing discounted gym memberships. Partnerships like this with medical providers probably have more potential than anything else to boost the addressable market for fitness-centric wearables, including the Apple Watch, because they substantially lower the cost of entry for consumers while providing strong incentives to make use of the devices. There’s obviously no guarantee any of this gets done, but it’s the kind of thing I’m sure we’ll see at least on a small scale in the near future, whether with Aetna and Apple or other pairings.
Intel Shutters First Party Wearables Business (Jul 20, 2017)
Fitbit CEO Talks up Forthcoming Smartwatch (Jul 18, 2017)
Weekly Narrative Video – Wearables are Struggling (Jul 8, 2017)
This past week’s narrative video is on the Wearables are Struggling narrative, in light of the news that Jawbone is entering liquidation. I’ve seen lots read into that news, some of it sensible and some of it probably overblown as far as the significance for the broader wearables industry. In the video, I talk through how I see the news, and also what I think about the state of the wearables market. Subscribers can watch the video on the narrative page here as always, and if you’re not yet a subscriber you can sign up for a 30-day free trial here and get access too.