A Smart Take on Smartwatches – Fossil, Apple & More
eCommerce Intelligence

A Smart Take on Smartwatches – Fossil, Apple & More

July 30, 2018 | Updated July 5, 2022
  • Fossil is a relatively new player in the smartwatch space, building awareness for its range of wearable tech.
  • Fossil has increased awareness of its brand by investing in paid traffic, resulting in increased direct traffic over time.
  • On-site search is a key metric for identifying the relative strength of competing brands selling through third-party retailers.

There are two routes into the wearable tech space. There are companies that create wearable versions of their tech products and there are fashion companies that create tech versions of their wearable products. Fossil began selling watches in the 1980s focusing on fashion watches with a retro feel. In late 2015 the company acquired Misfit a maker of wearable activity trackers with the explicit goal of creating a new range of smartwatches. Today Fossil markets smartwatches and hybrid smartwatches on its site, fossil.com under the brand name Fossil Q.

Looking at traffic to fossil.com over the past 18 months sees no significant increase in the volume of visits to the site. Looking a little closer into the proportion of pages visited at fossil.com that include one of their smartwatch products see a steady rise in the prominence of these pages on the site over the past year and a half.

How Is Fossil Increasing Brand Awareness

In January 2017, paid search accounted for over 17% of all traffic to fossil.com. In the same month, direct traffic was less than 19% of incoming traffic to the site. Eighteen months later Fossil was able to reduce its reliance on paid traffic so that it was less than 10% of all traffic while direct traffic to the site made up over 32% of traffic in June 2018.

Smartwatches on Third-Party Retail Sites

As with all fashion brands, smartwatch companies are trying to find the balance between owning the sales experience on their branded sites and maintaining sales through third-party retailers. In the world of smartwatches, the biggest third-party online retailers are amazon.com and bestbuy.com.

On-site search at third-party retailers is an important indication of relative brand awareness, highlighting the likelihood of a purchase for each companies’ products on each site. While Fossil’s smartwatches are available for purchase at both amazon.com and bestbuy.com the volume of searches for fossil smartwatch on each site was very low. In contrast, on-site searches for smartwatch products from Fitbit, Apple and Samsung represented significant proportions of all smartwatch-related on-site searches at both amazon.com and bestbuy.com.


Fossil has ramped up awareness of its smartwatch offerings increasing traffic to its site by investing in paid search. This is a key part of its marketing strategy for entering the smartwatch space. The next part of the puzzle will be for Fossil to build demand for its products on third-party sites where they are already being sold, but hardly searched for. Finding the balance between owned traffic and increased mindshare through third-party retailers will drive the brand to compete with the incumbent leaders in the smartwatch space.

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