The breakout success of Snapchat Spectacles has the potential to breathe new life into the entire wearables category. The quirky, fun and inexpensive approach Snapchat took has captivated the nascent Millennial audience that Google Glass was never quite able to reach. With a high price point and a less than stylish look, Glass just couldn't get traction with consumers. No matter how much marketing spend Google put behind it.
The enthusiasm that consumers have had for Spectacles demonstrates that there is consumer demand for a Glass type wearable device. The winning product marketing combination appears to be a low price point, a stylish look, and a dead simple feature set. And of course, the fact that Spectacles seamlessly integrate into Snapchat’s user experience is paramount.
This is a unique, almost contrarian approach. When one consider all the investment in Silicon Valley that went into Glass competitors and is now funding VR headset and app development. Snapchat took a big risk with this product, going against the grain, in a failed category, and it seems to have paid off.
Will a Snapchat Hardware Ecosystem Emerge?
It's too soon to say for sure, but the creation of an entire Snapchat hardware ecosystem is possible. Why not offer lots of different styles of glasses for consumers to pick from? Which could lead to the licensing of third party manufacturers like RayBans, Oakley or even Prada Eyewear to make glasses that work on the Snapchat platform? If my RayBans connected to Snapchat, I would be Snapping video all day.
A Rebirth of the Category
Wearables as a category saw the most success with fitness tracking devices from FitBit. Their clever marketing and a large product line, at multiple price points, crushed the competition. But beyond fitness trackers, not much else in the wearables space has gained traction, until now.
If Snapchat’s success continues with Spectacles, expect to see the other dominant players in the social media space imitate the approach in 2017, reigniting interest in wearables once again.