Parks Associates says that the top gifts for the 2014 season will include wearable devices including smartwatches, plus connected entertainment, such as streaming media devices (Apple TV and Roku box) and the tried and true game console. The company published numbers that included total sales for 2014, with 37% for smartwatches (health and mobile products category), 25% for streaming media devices (the group said over 70% of video consumption still occurs on the TV) and 20% for game consoles.
Park Associates identified the top categories for 2014 that include the hot category of smart wearables, such as the newly announced Apple Watch. Unfortunately for Apple, the company will not be in a position to capitalize on demand for wearables this time, as it is not yet available. Many are still waiting for the breakthrough design in wearables that includes uber-thin, light and long battery life, a combination that seems to be eluding even the mighty Apple product designers. Apple announced its wearable smart watch hand at the recent launch of the iPhone 6 but the results of that event were less than totally inspired as the company showed a “me-too” large rectangular object with short battery life that could be a Samsung Gear or Sony knock-off. That’s hardly the innovation leadership pedigree exercised by the “old Apple.”
On that note, at a NY Investor event on November 24, Samsung said it will launch a flexible (OK foldable) display-based consumer product probably targeting the “phablet” market that helps the company detach display size from the actual size of the device. It’s not much of an announcement, as a horizon technology “leak” perhaps to help shore up its flagging stock price that began to sink along with announcements of lower profits and reduced smartphone sales projections.
On the streaming media side, Parks said the low priced Google Chromecast (selling for around $40) topped the 2013 gift purchase device in the category with 46%, and other streaming media players (costing about $99) gained up to 37% given as gifts last year. This includes the Apple TV and Roku3. The newly announced Amazon Fire Stick is not going to make it to market in time for the 2014 holiday according to Parks’ Research Director, Barbara Kraus, who stated that the launch date is planned for mid-January. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the AppleTV may be getting a UHD upgrade, as a recent tear-down shows the presence of an A8 processor capable of the 4K content resolution support, as reported in the WallStreetCheatSheet.com.
Others in the category observed by Parks include tablets and EBR’s (e-book readers) DVRs, gesture based control systems (like the Microsoft Kinect), digital MP3 players and other internet-connected music systems (home audio) CE devices.
Display Daily Comments
So it looks like CE Devices of the connected kind will top holiday gift giving this year as Park Associates identified the top categories for 2014 that include the hot category of smart wearables like the newly announced Apple Watch, that will probably be a no-show. But there is plenty more to chose from, ranging from Samsung Gear to the (no display) FitBit. And it’s the latter category with its long lived system, simple interface back to the computer in your pocket and loaded with sensors that may just be pointing the way to the mainstream wearable category. – Steve Sechrist