Since the COVID-19 virus outbreak in December 2019, the disease has spread worldwide with the World Health Organization declaring it a public health emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly everyone and every industries worldwide, the watch industry is no exception. The IDC study presents the five-year forecast for smartwatch shipments in the United States. “2020 will show a decline in shipments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as supply is constrained and demand is blunted. Come 2021 and beyond, volumes will return to their upward trajectory.”
How can the smartwatch industry better connect with consumers and buyers during this time of wary spending? And according to the latest news, some study found out smartwatch could actually help to detect the next COVID-19 outbreak.
Improve online presence
Despite Hong Kong’s success at containing the virus, many other countries are still struggling. As social distancing and lockdowns continue elsewhere, brands must emphasise a stronger online presence to maintain meaningful interactions. With conventions suspended for the time being, online webinars like the Hong Kong International Watch Forum will be hosted during the Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE by HKTDC , with leading industry professionals sharing their insights and it also offers fairgoers a chance to stay connected with the latest industry developments from the safety of home.
While conventions and trade shows are a fine way to reach buyers and sourcers, younger audiences are often not among those demographics. In the past, we’ve explained the importance of empathy and diversifying a brand’s online presence while expanding an online reach – as YouTube stands as the world’s second largest search engine, brands have a great existing platform to generate more attention.
For example, renowned brands like IWC or Omega currently have channels that primarily feature product showcases. During the epidemic, YouTube had launched the #StayHome #WithMe campaign to entice viewers to stay at home – offering viewers a unique opportunity to entertain, exercise, cook and more alongside prominent content creators. A channel that can help viewers take their minds off their troubles shows empathy and care for the audience – like with British model and fashion designer Alexa Chung’s channel, a video with insightful tips on hair management during home quarantine is arguably more valuable to viewers than one promoting the latest fashions. A brand that generates a strong sense of community is one that consumers will remember later down the line!
Smartwatches might detect next outbreak
Besides the importance of the online presence, watch brands especially smart watch brands can also seize this opportunity to develop smartwatch that may predict the outbreak of pandemic like COVID-19.
The study findings, published earlier in the journal Nature Medicine, are part of the ongoing DETECT study (Digital Engagement & Tracking for Early Control & Treatment). Roughly 30,000 people across the U.S. enrolled between March 25 and June 7, sharing data from their wearable devices and reporting symptoms when they felt sick. About 3,800 participants reported symptoms that ranged from a stomachache to a cough to difficulty breathing and a loss of taste and smell. Of those who felt sick, 333 were tested for COVID-19; 54 tested positive and 279 tested negative. The researchers then tried to predict who would test positive or negative with a statistical model based on self-reported symptoms; it performed about as well as a model based on wearable device data (heart rate, step count and sleep length). But combining the two predicted Covid-19 test results best.
Base on the findings, developing new smartwatches may replace the slowing sales of the large tech companies’ main offerings, with a pitch to consumers that the wearable gadgets can improve their lifestyles. Apple Watch has been regarded as the industry’s top success, while Google said they would be buying Fitbit last year for $2.1 billion in hopes of catching up.