Xplora, a children’s smartwatch brand, proposes to give children a safe onboarding to the digital world. Today, the company offers three main products: X5 Play (with or without SIM), XGO2 (with or without SIM), and XMove, ranging in price from $50 to $170. Depending on the model, these devices offer GPS location tracking, safe zones, built-in G sensors to track kids’ steps, and even school mode, which disables the interactive features while in class. As Xplora attempts to enter the US market later this year, there are important lessons that they and other brands should consider when developing a smartwatch and entering a crowded market.

Lessons Learned From A Crowded (Smartwatch) Market

In the US, 24% of US youth (ages 12 to 17) surveyed in 2021 say they use a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Plus, 51% say they use their smartwatch to check or log health and fitness info. There are many fitness trackers and smartwatches on the market, like Xplora, and big names such as Garmin and Fitbit have smartwatch products for kids. Apple has dedicated family programs to permit use of its smartwatch even if the child doesn’t have their own smartphone.

Brands have been chasing the youth market for years with connected services, but not all successfully. For example, Disney’s MVNO, the company’s branded mobile phone offering, stopped operations in 2007. It proved to be difficult for Disney to define a value proposition within a hypercompetitive US mobile phone market where most consumers prioritized quality of network or coverage. To be competitive today, new products and services will need smart marketing tactics and channel strategies to influence both parents and children. The biggest challenge of all is breaking into markets with well-established ecosystems of devices and services such as Apple’s.

Consider These Three Things If You Develop A Smartwatch

Companies like Xplora that are developing smartwatches should include the following requirements as they design their products for success in the market:

  • Accessibility (for children). When designing a new product, companies must include the target audience (in this case, children) in the design and development of the product. It sounds obvious, but it’s a key tenet of inclusive design. Understand your target audience and how much complexity your customers can realistically handle solo. For Xplora to succeed, young kids will need to be able to set up this product on their own, turn it on, and operate it themselves, and parents will need to understand how to use the app.
  • Easy to charge with a long battery life. Consumers wear smartwatches all day, which means that battery life and easy charging are both crucial. Who would use a smartwatch that dies in the middle of a workout where you are counting your steps? Long battery life and easy charging will make the product more attractive than its counterparts. Xplora products have a battery that can be charged with a special Xplora USB charger. Xplora says the X5 model should last several days.
  • Ability to differentiate in a crowded market. Find your special value-add for consumers – in a crowded market, that’s even more crucial. Xplora differentiates itself through its Goplay platform where it partners with leading organizations and TV/film studios like Netflix and Sony so kids can convert fitness coins to play games. Xplora’s Play For Good program brings in organizations like UNICEF’s clean water project to help children learn how their “play” can make the world a better place. In 2021, US youth (ages 12 to 17) say they will pay more for products that support a good cause or charity.

If Xplora can achieve adoption in the US, it will be an interesting use case to watch as more companies build out the future of experiences. Curious to learn more about our future of experiences research? Please schedule a call with me. I would love to hear from you!