Shares of accessory maker Fossil Group (FOSL) have been on fire lately, capped by an 18% jump on Tuesday after a better-than-expected second quarter earnings report:
While Fossil’s business is unlikely to be impacted in the next few quarters, I have to wonder what happens to this stock if the category of “smart” watches takes off in coming years. After all, during the first half of 2013 more than 75% of Fossil’s revenue came from watches. We know that tech giants like Apple and Microsoft are developing smart watch products to be used as phone extension accessories. Smaller firms focused on wearable computing are also jumping into this space.
While it is too early to declare the product category a success (development could go south, or the products could bomb upon release), given that the younger generation does not really wear watches at all (they simply use their cell phone to tell time) and plenty of companies believe they can add functionality for the traditional watch wearer, it stands to reason that Fossil would suffer materially if a certain percentage of regular watches were replaced over the next few years by a wearable electronic device.
If these new product developments continue to progress, Fossil shares could be a very attractive short candidate. Given how focused Wall Street is on short term results, it does not appear that many investors have this potential catalyst on their radar. In my view it is definitely something to monitor, especially if Fossil shares continue to march higher short term even as the demographic and technology trends are moving against them in many respects over the intermediate and long term.
Full Disclosure: No position in Fossil at the time of writing, but positions may change at any time.