Bengaluru: Watches and accessories firm Fossil India Pvt. Ltd on Thursday launched the third generation of its Fossil Q full-display touchscreen smartwatches. The first generation Fossil Qs hit the markets only last October but smartwatches already account for a significant portion of the company's sales in the country, managing director Johnson Verghese said in an interview.
“We’re extremely excited at the kind of response that we’ve got (for our smartwatches). And we’re absolutely certain that it’s going to be what watches are all about tomorrow, so we are very much in the right direction," Verghese said, adding that smartwatches already account for strong double-digits in terms of percentage of overall business in India.
The new, or third, generation of its smartwatches—Fossil Q Venture and Fossil Q Explorist— have full-round touchscreens and cost Rs19,995 and Rs21,9995 respectively. They have features such as downloadable third-party applications, customisable watch faces, wireless charging and run on Android Wear 2.0.
Fossil has also, for the first time in India, brought in actors Varun Dhawan and Shruti Haasan as brand ambassadors. The plan is to reach younger buyers and make the evolution in the watch industry and Fossil apparent to them, Verghese said.
Watches are undergoing a transformation across the world, he said, pointing to the change from regular phones to smartphones as an analogy. But while some form of technology is going to be a given in watches of the future, that does not mean the original desire for a watch will no longer exist.
“A lot of our consumers still want a fashion accessory on their wrist and now they want watches that can do a little more from a functional point of view than just tell the time. They see it as an extension of their fashion quotient but it adds up all the other things they want to do – it gives them incoming alerts, it is their activity and sleep tracker, and more," Verghese said. That’s where the hybrid watch comes in.
Fossil’s new third generation of hybrid watches have already been in the market for a few months. Its smartwatch portfolio in India is divided roughly equally between hybrids and full-display smartwatches. Hybrid watches are typically those that look like traditional watches but have technological features, like being able to access the camera on a phone using an additional button.
Although Fossil has seen sales of its hybrid watches picking up, it is still too early to predict if customers will turn to them rather than full-display touchscreen smartwatches, Verghese said. Some Fossil stores sell more hybrid watches than full-display smartwatches while it’s vice versa for other stores, he added.
The global wearables market, which includes watches and wrist bands, is expected to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2% by 2021 reaching 229.5 million units in terms of shipments, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The research firm expects vendors to ship 121.7 million wearable devices this year, a 16.6% increase from 2016.
“What is clear in the marketplace is the tracker part of the business is not finding significance with consumers any longer. We are in the full-display smartwatch and hybrid watch part of the market…and that part of the market has grown quite significantly for a new category. It’s just that expectations are super high and it may not have met those but it is growing very strongly," Verghese said.