Oura Puts A Ring On Best Buy

Oura, the ring device many troubled sleepers swear by, is moving into bricks-and-mortar. In its first large-scale U.S. retail move, the company says the expansion represents the "natural next step" in its evolution.

The wearable, developed in Finland, tracks a user's resting heart rate, body temperature, activity and time spent in specific sleep stages. It pairs with an app that allows people to analyze their sleep patterns and find their ideal bedtime.

The main benefit of the move to retail is consumer convenience, says Brad Jashinsky, director analyst, digital marketing at Gartner, which tracks the world of wearables. "Customers have a multistep process when ordering directly. They must wait for a ring-sizing kit and select their size before their Oura ring is shipped."

Now, consumers can leave a Best Buy with a ring already on their finger.



Fifty locations will include an elaborate Oura experience, complete with videos and the chance to explore a variety of Oura rings. Another 250 will stock the Oura collection. And a total of 850 stores will offer ring-sizing, and can arrange shipping or in-store pickup.

Oura says 70% of America lives within 10 miles of a Best Buy, which has about 1,000 stores in the U.S.

Jashinsky says the move also reflects shifts in the D2C business model. "The partnership is another example of the increasing trend of D2C companies expanding into relationships with brick-and-motor retailers," he tells Marketing Daily via email. "Customer acquisition through a retail partner is often less expensive. Brick-and-mortar retailers provide exposure to a wide audience and a unique physical touchpoint for consumers to see the product's look, feel, and fit before purchasing."

That is especially important for wearables. They don't just have to fit well and function. Style matters to people, who view the devices as jewelry.

The move comes as the growth in wearables begins to slow. In its most recent analysis, the Consumer Technology Association says the wearable market hit $8.2 billion in shipment revenues last year, including smartwatches, AR and VR headsets and smart clothing, which includes wearables like Oura and other fitness trackers and accessories.

"We project that market to cool slightly to $8 billion in 2023, mostly due to price drops," says Kyle Wandel, manager of business intelligence at the CTA.

That smart clothing category is still relatively small, at $625 million in shipments. "But it is expected to grow quickly as the technology becomes more advanced and use cases for them expand,” he says. By 2027, the CTA projects this category to generate over $900 million in annual sales.

Smartwatches are also slowing, Jashinsky tells Marketing Daily via email, and are likely to fall to $6.1 billion in sales this year, compared to $6.5 billion in 2022.

Still, these wearables make up a formidable category. "Manufacturers are expanding their models to address younger and older demographics alike. For parents of younger children, a smartwatch can represent an easy introduction to connectivity. The allure of smartwatches as the ultimate fitness and wellness device and its role as a fashion accessory will keep sales robust throughout the five-year forecast."

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