Big-Name Designers Getting In On the Smartwatch Boom

Tory Burch and other high-end designers have gotten in on the smartwatch boom.

Smartwatches are starting to get a high-fashion look, thanks to designers like Tory Burch.

The smartwatch market is booming, and high-end designers are starting to notice.

While wearable fitness trackers like the Fitbit have had a tough year, smartwatches are faring much better—and the market isn’t just for tech companies like Apple. High-end retailers like Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Fossil, and now Tory Burch have entered the smartwatch market.

The ToryTrack is a hybrid smartwatch that can integrate with Android devices and iPhones via Bluetooth. The ToryTrack also offers activity tracking, notifications, sleep tracking, and the ability to link with other apps, with the added benefit of looking stylish.

“Tory and her team have a unique ability to create accessible luxury clothing and accessories that have broad and lasting appeal,” said Tory Burch board member Bill E. Ford of General Atlantic, a private equity firm that has invested in the brand.

“As hybrids, the timepieces are less conspicuously ‘techy’ than other options,” wrote Architectural Digest. “In fact, the designs are inspired by Burch’s popular Collins watch.” That should bode well for Tory Burch’s usual shoppers and possibly serve to expand the market for her collection beyond its typical consumers.

On the whole, smartwatches are leaving fitness trackers in the dust when it comes to market share. A report from International Data Corporation on 2017’s second quarter earnings, sales numbers show that wearables are up 10.3 percent year over year.

“Smartwatches recorded double-digit year-over-year growth, with much of that increase attributable to a growing number of models aimed at specific market segments, like the fashion-conscious and outdoor enthusiasts,” IDC Wearables Research Manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement.

A number of basic fitness tracker companies like TomTom are getting out of the business as smartwatches come to the forefront. Apple’s Apple Watch carries about half of the smartwatch market share, but the most popular device is made by Chinese brand Xiaomi.

In addition to Tory Burch, fashion brands DKNY, Armani, and Mchael Kors put luxury smartwatches on the market this year. And Misfit, another Fossil brand, has released its own smartwatch—the stylish Vapor.

Some experts are saying that the next big wearables market could come in the form of clothing and earwear, a market that IDC says showed triple-digit growth. “These products are still in their initial stages, but by targeting specific market niches…or providing unique value propositions…these products are offering solutions to problems other than simply reporting data,” said Llamas, adding that the devices are gaining traction.

What do you think about smartwatches? Would you wear one? Would a designer brand and non-traditional smartwatch look convince you to buy one? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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