Slow sales cloud Snapchat's Spectacles outlook

October 27, 2017 14:48
Spectacles features a built-in camera for recording from the user's perspective. It costs about US$129.99 online. Photo: Bloomberg

Social media tool and messaging app Snapchat has been struggling with its flagship hardware product, Spectacles, since its debut last year.

Snap Inc., the company that developed the Snapchat app, announced the release of Spectacles in September 2016. Spectacles is a pair of sunglasses with a built-in camera for recording from the user's perspective.

It is available in three colors -- coral, black and teal -- and costs about US$129.99 online.

The new product is also able to synchronize with Snapchat. The sales performance, however, has not been promising, according to media reports.

Spectacles were first sold in vending machines in different parts of the United States. The company began online sales in February, before making the product available in Europe several months later, Business Insider reports.

Other reports said “hundreds of thousands of unsold units” are stored in warehouses.

Business Insider cited Snap Inc. chief executive Evan Spiegel as saying the company had sold 150,000 Spectacles.

However, internal data revealed more than half of the owners stopped using the sunglasses after four weeks, according to Business Insider.

In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in August, Snap Inc. said it had US$29 million in “hardware inventory commitments”.

The company has generated less than US$20 million in revenue from Spectacles, according to its quarterly earnings statement.

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