The kid's wearable market is about to explode! Is your company ready for it?
Before we jump right in, let's step back and look at the history of the kid's tablet market.
On April 3, 2010 the Apple iPad 1 was released. At that time, no one could have predicted how quickly kids would be demanding these products. By Christmas that year kid's were requesting iPads instead of toys. Picking up on this trend, in 2011 Fuhu launched the kid-focused Nabi tablet and by 2013 was reportedly hitting sales over $196M.
Much of the kid's tablet economy was initially driven because parents were opting for upgrades to the latest hardware and passing their older devices down to their kids. Seeing the kid's tablet trend, device makers quickly jumped into making kid-focused tablets with increased durability, kid's user interfaces, and parental controls.
Tablet sales for kids remain strong today, just over 6 years later, and the winners have proven to be the mainstay brands that have a solid foundation of content, games, and leading technology: Apple, Amazon, and Samsung.
Summary of the History of Kid's Tablet Market
- 2010 - Apple iPad 1 Released
- 2011/2012 - Hand-me-down devices start driving adoption and kid's content
- 2013 - Kid's Tablet Market Exploding
- 2017 - Winners all have major platforms with a developer ecosystem, plenty of content, games, and leading technology
Okay...so let's fast forward to the next big personal device innovation since the tablet - smart watches!
Three years ago the smart watch craze was underway. Many smart watches on the market were fitness trackers: FitBit, Misfit, Garmin (the original smartwatch! - and yes - I still own and love my Forerunner 305). But let's not forget Pebble too, one of the first crowd-supported smartwatch innovators.
In September 2014 Apple announced the Apple Watch and while the market was hesitant at this "next chapter in Apple's story," this year, the Series 2 has topped the smart watch lists. The fitness wearable industry is starting to get its legs cut out from under them with the GPS based Apple Watch Series 2. This May, Apple was reported to be outselling every other wearable for the last quarter.
This week it was announced that Apple will be selling a cell-connected Apple Watch to be released this holiday season. If the rumors are correct, this will start what we predict to be a "tablet history replay" where the younger generation will get the hand-me-down Apple Series 1 and 2 watches as parents upgrade for the new cell-based Apple Watch.
We have seen a number of kid's wearables hit the market. Most of these smart watches are designed for pre-school aged kids so their parents can track their location or contact them. But not all kid's wearable companies have survived due to the cost and complexities of launching connected hardware and a software platform to support the kid's market adoption.
So why will the Apple Watch drive this kid's wearable industry growth?
The Apple Watch will drive the kid's wearable market growth because it is backed by the same winning features that flushed out the winners in the kid's tablet market - a solid platform backed by endless content and driven by the innovation of the developer community. Even Fitbit knows it needs to become a platform to stay relevant against the likes of Apple.
Developers have just started to reveal the power the the Apple Watch and its gesture tracking sensors with cutting edge apps like the ShotDoctor - helping correct guide hand rotation in young basketball players. As startups turn to this proven platform, they don't have to invest millions of dollars in building their own smart watch, they just have to develop the app and publish it.
I predict the success of the Apple Watch will lead to a number of new kid's wearables launching with better durability and focused on connected play on a kid's wrist. Hasbro's Moodgleam launched under their new brand Hanazuki, will be on the shelves this Christmas allowing children to share their moods. For just $19.99 this is a great purchase price for a toy wearable with bluetooth and expanded game play.
History & Predictions for the Kid's Smart Watch Market
- 2012 - Fitness Trackers Gain Popularity
- 2014 - Apple Series 1 Announced
- 2017 - Apple Series 2 Tops Smart Watch Sales & Launches Cell-Based "Series 3"
- 2018 - Prediction: Hand-me-down devices start driving adoption and kid's content
- 2018 - Prediction: Kid's Smart Watch Market Explodes
- Likely Winners will all have major platforms with a developer ecosystem, plenty of content, games, and leading technology
- Following the adult market success, sports & fitness apps will be a key vertical for kid's wearables
We are the only one's predicting this skyrocket of the kid's wearable market, Annabel Acton is too in her article - The Future of Kid's Wearables: More than Just Tracking Devices. But as it skyrockets, there are reasons why Fitbit and others have stayed away from the kid's market - child privacy laws and security to name a few.
Privacy and Security Will be the Biggest Hurdle for Kid's Wearables
The biggest challenge for the wearable market expanding into the kid's industry is going to be complying with child privacy laws and ensuring the wearable device is secure.
Most adult smartwatches don't have apps that are compliant with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Fitbit and Under Armor's wearables are for users age 13 and older because most wearables collect data and would require verifiable parental consent.
Even the popular Garmin Vivofit, Jr, a kid-focused activity tracker, only includes a "Parent" app to skirt the child privacy laws which would require verifiable parental consent to allow kids to use the app.
But the Federal Trade Commission has been clear - Internet of Things devices, wearables included, are subject to COPPA and just as Disney and Nickelodeon have been sued in class action lawsuits this week for alleged COPPA violations, the wearable industry will have a target painted on them if they don't comply with these strict child privacy laws.
iOKids Platform Making It Easy To Activate A Kid's Wearable Experience
Lucky for companies looking to launch a privacy-compliant kid's wearable or app, in 2015 we diverted our company from building a kid's wearable to building the platform that easily allows companies to activate their connected products in a kid-safe, social platform called iOKids.
The iOKids platform allows a brand to easily obtain COPPA compliant verifiable parental consent for kid's data collected by the wearable experience. IOKids also allows access to a kid-safe social network which includes the entire family. In the case of the Hasbro Moodgleam, with iOKids powering it, the bracelet could alert when a child's friends were near and kids could share their moods. Kids wearing the Garmin Vivofit, Jr. could actually use the app controlling the smartwatch instead of just the parent and then kids could challenge their friends and family to see who could get the most steps for the day.
The first wearable connecting to the iOKids® platform is the Apple Watch!
Dynepic has multiple outside companies including ShotDoctor, now on board to develop Apple Watch apps leveraging the iOKids social platform to extend their wearable experiences safely into the kid's market.
The Apple Watch will be the first Internet of Toys® device on iOKids and we hope to have many other wearables connected to the platform leveraging our COPPA Compliant kid-safe social network.
We believe sports applications will be a key vertical for growth in the kid's wearable industry. With kids having dreams of playing professional sports, parents will open their pocket books to give their child the edge. Wearables will help kids improve their skills and with the kid-safe network of iOKids, they can share their progress with their team and coaches.
Wearables are going to be the next big wave for the kid's market.
Don't be left behind. If you are interested in a COPPA compliant solution to make your smart watch legally sold in the kid's industry or if you are looking to build a kid's wearable experience using a proven and secure platform, then contact us today. Dynepic has the world's ONLY kid-safe, privacy-compliant social platform to activate your wearable experience.
Krissa Watry, CEO Dynepic
Dynepic, Inc. is powering the future of connected play with its iOKids platform and Internet of Toys service. This platform makes it easier for wearable manufacturers and app developers to launch connected play experiences for kids where safety, privacy compliance, and parental control are paramount. Download the iOKids app today and contact us if you are interested in activating your product.