December 17, 2018

Go Ahead and Get Grandma a Smartwatch for Christmas

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.

Thinking your parents or grandparents are too old to want a smartwatch for the holidays? You might want to give such an idea some more serious mulling: They may love you even more and let everyone know that watch was their favorite gift for Christmas.

In 2019, some 8.2 million Americans who are 55 or older will use a wearable device, making them the fastest growing age group donning the devices, according to an eMarketer report that was released last week.

The 8.2-million mark represents a growth rate of 15 percent from this year’s number of wearables users 55 or older.

Newest Apple Watch a Key Driver in Sales

What’s attracting Baby Boomers and older generations to wearables? Continually advancing health features, such as those that recently were released with the Apple Watch Series 4, are the major driving force.

“The Apple Watch Series 4 is outfitted with some major enhancements, including ECG [electrocardiography] readings and fall-detection features,” noted Cindy Liu, an eMarketer forecasting analyst.

The Apple watch also includes such features as “Emergency SOS,” which alerts 911 and your emergency contacts by sending your current location and displaying your Medical ID badge on the screen for emergency personnel; a “Breathe” app that leads you through a series of calming breaths at the raise of a wrist; and, specially designed apps for such health concerns as drinking more water, improving sleep or managing diabetes.

There also are such features that attract younger — as well as older — users, such as a “Workout” app, pace alerts that are designed for runners and the ability to pair a watch with a gym’s workout equipment.

Though they’re the fastest growing segment of wearables users, Baby Boomers and older are not the largest age group strapping on wearables. The largest is those who are ages 25 through 34, at 17 million users, followed by ages 35 through 44 at 14 million users and ages 18-24 at 9.3 million.

“Continuous improvements in design and functionality are key drivers of smartwatch adoption” for users of all ages, Liu said.

“Specifically, LTE connectivity will be a huge driver, as it allows smartwatch users to stay connected while leaving their phones behind. Other improvements, like longer battery life, larger screens and new health features, will be sure to attract new users.”

You Also Might Give Grandma a Smart Speaker

Still trying to decide what to get Grandma or the folks? You could consider a smart speaker such as Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Home. Baby Boomers now represent 11.3 percent of the smart-speaker market, which is expected to swell to 76.5 million users by 2020.

Smart speakers might be a better choice of gift for younger family members, though. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, top smart-speaker market share at 34.3 percent, eMarketer says. They’re followed by Gen X, or those born between 1965 and 1980, at 25.1 percent.

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