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Electronics spending, Q1 2015: Consumers prepare for the next big thing

Tue Apr 14 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Barclaycard spend data shows spending in electronics stores growing by 6.6 per cent in Q1, up from 3.7 per cent in Q4 2014. However, the biggest electronics story of 2015 may be the launch of the Apple Watch on 24 April. Our consumer confidence survey certainly suggests that British consumers are hungry for new wearable gadgets.

One in 10 consumers (10 per cent) are considering buying a smart watch in 2015. Extended to the whole population, this could mean several million sales nationwide. And yet, according to recent forecasts, only 28 million smartwatches are expected to ship globally this year.

Smart watch consumer spending

One third (33 per cent) of consumers who expect to buy a smartwatch say it’s because they are looking for greater convenience than a smartphone. Over a quarter (26 per cent) want to be first among their friends and family to have one. Many consumers who don’t expect to buy a smartwatch simply can’t see the appeal, with almost half (45 per cent) saying “It’s just not for me”.

And, overall, consumer appetite for smartwatches remains lower than that for other mobile devices. According to our confidence survey, 18 per cent of consumers expect to buy a new phone in the next three months alone. Eleven per cent will buy a tablet in this timeframe.

We can also see some regional differences in demand. Thirty per cent of prospective smartwatch buyers are based in London. Consumers in the North West comprise 13 per cent of future smartwatch owners. Meanwhile, only one per cent of prospective smartwatch buyers live in Northern Ireland.

There’s a huge ‘I want one’ factor for smartwatches. That’s why we believe the Apple Watch will become the bestselling smartwatch in history on its first weekend of sales. Even if the Apple Watch only told the time, they’d still sell a few million of them.

Ben Wood, CCS Insight