Apple Watch still a ‘nice-to-have’ but access to Apple Pay may make retailers warm to NFC

The Apple Watch is predicted to be the biggest selling smart watch yet, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimating pre-order numbers to be around 2.3 million units and Apple to ship between 15 and 20 million Apple Watches in 2015. While there have been other attempts into the wearable markets by Pebble and Android, it is Apple that is predicted to set the benchmark for measuring the success of the technology, as it has with many of its previous product ranges.

Dan Wagner
Dan Wagner

Dan Wagner, CEO and Founder of Powa Technologies comments: “The launch of Apple Watch marks the first time consumers will have access to a product that combines two of the fastest growing technologies in recent years – wearable technology and mobile payments. To see Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world, betting on such a combination shows the increasing willingness of consumers to adopt innovative and convenient methods of payments.

“The Apple Watch is a landmark in the development of Apple Pay, giving millions of iPhone 5 and 5S users access to Apple’s mobile payments platform, alongside the iPhone 6 and 6S models which feature it as a standard. However, it will not solve Apple Pay’s main problem, which is retailer adoption. The vast majority of American retailers still do not accept Apple Pay due to its reliance on NFC technology.”

Wagner continues, “Research has found that about 40% of shoppers are willing to use wearables to make in-store payments, so the millions of Apple Watches expected to be sold around the world may well help convince retailers of the value. However, mobile payments are still not seen as the ‘killer feature’ that will trigger massive sales of wearable technology: only 12.2% of smartphone users rate mobile payments as the main reason to invest in a wearable device.”

Despite the buzz and sales predictions, Wagner believes that smart watches are still seen as a desirable extra rather than a must-have item, and as such it will be some time before we see a significant impact on retail strategy.

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