Smartwatch sales point to a new trend in digitization

It's no secret that digital technology is part of everyday life all over the world. In developed regions and the major cities, this trend couldn't be more obvious - smartphones, television and laptops are visible at every turn. Some people might think we would eventually tire of this digital accompaniment, but recent sales show that the opposite could be true. But instead of just rampantly digitizing everything, hi-tech manufacturers are looking for ways to introduce a more human, personal element to their products. This subtle touch may well result in an environment where we don't just stare at our smartphones, but use all sorts of digital media to better our daily lives.

Smartwatches outsell Swiss Watches for the first time
The typical refrain on smartwatches was that they wouldn't harm the sale of traditional watches - the latter are statement items worn by folks of a certain caliber of refinement, people would always favor classic styles over the new. But that argument wasn't true when the iPhone came out and it apparently is no truer now. According to Strategy Analytics, Q4 2015 saw 8.1 million global smartwatch shipments compared to 7.9 million Swiss Watch shipments, marking the first time smartwatches outperformed Swiss Watches.

The report claims that Swiss Watches assumed smartwatches were a fad that would eventually go away. But in reality, the smartwatch industry is a high-growth sector. While it may not pose an existential threat to traditional mechanical watches, it is unlikely to simply disappear. And that is what leads us to the newest wave of digitization.

Smartwatches have outsold Swiss Watches for the first time.
Smartwatches have outsold Swiss Watches for the first time.

Digital products can enhance the human element
Part of smartwatches' success is that they entered an industry dominated by style and managed to carve out their own stylistic niche. The successful products understood they had to have form and function. Simultaneously, the public lifted its aversion to conflating digital products with style. Consumers warmed up to the idea of a fashionable smartwatch.

Digital signage can follow a similar trajectory. The best providers realize the most effective signage isn't overbearing, but tactful and effective. It works with its surroundings, combines visual and auditory elements and gives the user a level of control that's hard to pass up. When the average person thinks of digital signage, she might first think of Times Square. But the digital signage of tomorrow won't be tacky and glaring but stylish and enticing - just as the smartwatches had capitalized on the human element to win over today's consumers.

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