Did Snap fall victim to its own hype around Spectacles, the vending-machine-dispensed video sunglasses it made people line up for earlier this year? That’s the conclusion in a new report from The Information, which said Monday that the company was stuck with hundreds of thousands of unsold units sitting in warehouses.
Snap first rolled out the Snapbot machines and $129 Spectacles last November, teasing where they would be offered next and generating buzz online by offering only a limited supply. The colored camera sunglasses, showcased in minimalist advertising on the faces of beautiful models, allow users to record Snapchat videos in 10-to-30-second bursts.
In February they showed up in Seattle, and fans waited in line in the rain at the Dick’s Drive-In on Lower Queen Anne for the chance to get a pair or two. By July, the glasses were available for purchase on Amazon, and perhaps that convenience was all it took to kill the hype — and sales.
The Information said that hardware is a small part of the business of Snap, which has struggled since its IPO in March, but that some people close to the company saw it as a potential driver of long-term growth.
The report doesn’t offer a solid figure on the financial impact of the unsold inventory, but points to an August SEC filing likely related to the glasses in which Snap noted that as of June 30, it had $29 million of “hardware inventory commitments, consistent with our forecasted demand.” The Information further reported that total revenue generated by Spectacles since late 2016 “appears to be as much as $18 million, based on statements by Snap executives on quarterly earnings calls.”