Fitbit (FIT), Xiaomi and Apple (AAPL) collectively make up nearly half of the wearables market, according to IDC figures, but the industryÂ is fragmented enough for other entrants to have a chance at making their mark.
Kors unveiled the Sofie, a women’s watch that features a gold pave bezel, and the Grayson, a men’s timepiece with a modern face and a “full-round dial with a rotating crown for quick scrolling.” Both watches have touch screens and use Qualcomm (QCOM) chips.
The fashion house âÂ which this year is introducing its wearables to the China and Brazil markets, among others âÂ also released a new version of its micro app that will let users link up to their Instagram accounts and use their own photos as a watch face background.
Michael Kors’ activity trackers, hybrid smartwatches and touch-screen smartwatches will range from $95 to $350.
Meanwhile, Fossil followed up on its previous announcement to debut more than 300 smartwatch styles this year with a showcase at watch and jewelry expo Baselworld.
The hundreds of watches will span 14 brands. New touch-screen smartwatches include styles from Diesel, Emporio Armani, Misfit and Fossil’s eponymous brand. The lineup includes Michael Kors’ new Sofie and Grayson models.Â (Fossil makes Michael Kors-branded watches under a global licensing agreement that runs through 2024.)
New styles of Fossil hybrid smartwatches, i.e. connected watches that look like regular analog watches, will be sold under the Marc Jacobs, Skagen, Tory Burch, Kate Spade (KATE), MichaelÂ Kors and other labels.
They’ll have to contend with an expanding Apple Watch presence: Recent IDC stats point to Apple Watch shipments growing 13% to 4.6 million shipments in Q4 2016 for 13.6% market share.
But familiar fashion brands and differentiated styles have the potential to lure users from Apple’s relatively uniform look that offers few watch-face variations.
IBD’S TAKE: The research firm earlier in the month called the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series a “magnificent success for the company.”Â
“With the shift toward watches and clothing, the need of a fashionable design will take center stage,” said Jitesh Ubrani, IDC’s mobile device tracker senior analyst in a Monday release, adding that tech companies will have to “step up their game” and offer more selection to broaden their appeal.
And that could draw shoppers away from players like Apple.
“We also expect more tech vendors to partner with fashion brands for their creativity, and equally important, their distribution network,” he said. “In doing so, wearables will be made available to a previously unaware audience â one that frequents fashion outlets over tech outlets.”
Michael Kors shares rose 1.8% to 37.23 in the stock market today, but they are still in a steep downtrendÂ Fossil shares climbed Â 1.9%. Apple dipped 0.35%. Fitbit slid 1.5%.