The Most Successful Crowdfunded Wearable in History…

(is smaller than you think!)Pebble kickstarter

Congratulations to the folks at Pebble, whose next-generation smartwatch, the Pebble Time, has already raised over US$10.4 million, with over 48,000 backers. That’s more money than they raised in 2013, and with 29 days still to go in the campaign looks certain to become the most-backed crowdfunded product in history. Hats off!

Without denigrating their accomplishment in any way, the numbers reveal some interesting things about both crowdfunding and the wearables space.

There were different funding packages available at different prices, but my weighted average looks to be around $171 per watch, so the money raised represents around 60,000 watches. That’s great for a crowdfunded watch, but it looks pretty small compared to the numbers for other consumer electronics devices. Take a look…

Pebble Infographic

But we don’t even need to compare the new watch to global smartphone sales. Canada’s Blackberry will sell about 7 million phones for their 2015 fiscal year. Why is Pebble being heralded as a success, when it has sales that are 99% lower than my Waterloo friends are getting mocked for?

Wearables are still a niche, and so is crowdfunding. They each get a lot of media buzz, but until at least one crowdfunded project sells tens of millions of units it will stay stuck as being a useful way to fund long tail products, but not a viable path to blockbuster consumer devices.  And we will know wearables have hit the big leagues only when 60,000 units sold isn’t considered a home run.

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