Japan doesn’t embrace smart wristbands
One year on and we’re revisiting the wearables market in Japan.
Back in 2014, we reported that local firm Omron ruled the roost when it came to wearable technology: At the time, we remarked that smart wristbands were slow to take off in Tokyo tech stores like the famous BIC Camera chain.
Although there are more bands on sale now in 2015, it’s still a much more limited choice than in the US or European markets.
This could be due to the Japanese placing an importance on stylish, sober clothing. In downtown Tokyo, tourists stand out like a sore thumb in a sea of suits in sober colors.
This would explain the prevalence of belt-worn pedometer-style movement trackers, such as Jawbone’s low-end UP Move – but no sign of Misfit, which can also be worn on a belt or lapel.
An extensive hunt through a couple of tech stores in Tokyo yielded only a few Polar Loop bracelets in Bic Camera, one of the largest chains, plus some replacement wristbands but not the actual Sony Lifeband device, the Jawbone UP plug-in version – and, hidden away, one solitary UP24.
Device pricing is largely in line with Europe, and slightly more expensive than the US.
Meanwhile, Apple’s Japan flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo is plastered with ads for the Watch.