Are Meta’s smart glasses the next big influencer trend?

    Meta’s smart glasses are causing a stir online and shifting consumer perceptions of next-generation gadgets. Is 2024 the year of the tech wearable?
    Meta’s smart glasses are causing a stir online and shifting consumer perceptions of next-generation gadgets. Is 2024 the year of the tech wearable? Photo: Meta

    Meta’s smart glasses are defying all odds when it comes to earning a high fashion reputation. Amid the ‘bow era’ trend and Stanley quenchers, which dominated 2023’s festive period, the divisive accessory is emerging as 2024’s hottest must-have after reaching the pinnacle of style status: TikTok virality.

    Touted as “the next big thing in the influencer world,” the Meta x Ray-Ban shades have become an overnight sensation among the content creator community. One TikTok showing off the smart glasses, which allow users to make calls, shoot videos, listen to music and livestream, has amassed over 136.6 million views since it was posted on December 5.

    View post on TikTok

    But the gadget’s rise to fame isn’t a fluke. It’s all part of Meta’s marketing push to sway consumer opinion on its smartwear — and the company is being savvy about which audience it targets.

    The demographic in question? Style-obsessed social media natives. Over the past month, the tech conglomerate has orchestrated a campaign targeting fashion aficionados and internet personalities with impressive followings. To date, creators who have jumped on the hype include Canadian influencer Isabelle Allain (406,000 followers on Instagram), Hong Kong-based Steph Hui (1.1 million followers on Instagram), and Kristina Kim (36.5 million followers on TikTok), all of whom have contributed to the product’s explosive growth.

    Meta's smart glasses are gaining traction online, all thanks to the high-profile influencer community. Photo: Meta
    Meta's smart glasses are gaining traction online, all thanks to the high-profile influencer community. Photo: Meta

    Making a 180#

    "Fashion is one of the most profitable industries when it comes to influencer marketing," Nela Grigelova, influencer marketing expert and project manager at marketing agency Territory Influence, tells Jing Daily. "This type of strategy coming from Meta and other tech companies is a step in the right direction, especially with the growing trend of technology seamlessly integrating into our lifestyles."

    Tech wearables’ entry into mainstream consciousness hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Apple’s Vision Pro headset crash landed across the fashion community in June last year — a fashion victim memeified to oblivion — while Google’s hotly anticipated Google Glass was pulled from the market after a damp squib of a launch in 2014.

    Meta’s smartwear division has also previously struggled to gain traction. Last April, the company was reported to have sold just 120,000 pairs of Ray-Ban Stories, less than half its 300,000 goal at that time, as well as failing to retain its existing users.

    The conglomerate’s latest pivot is an attempt to avoid earning itself the same reputation as Apple and Google. To do so, it’s swinging the pendulum on its smart glasses from gimmick to sought-after fashion statement.

    View post on Instagram

    Everyone can be a content creator#

    It’s about straddling the line between style and substance. In today’s day and age, when everyone can be a content creator, convenience is key; Meta has taken note by honing in on its buzzy use-case of hands-free recording, encouraging participating influencers to do the same.

    For example, Ray-Ban’s official account released its own video in December with the tagline ''keep the hands-free POVs coming,” which has since accumulated over 11 million views.

    It’s a savvy tactic that takes attention away from the product’s amateur aesthetic (despite joining forces with Ray-Ban to achieve some sartorial allure), instead generating hype around its accessibility.

    Fashion’s unexpected underdog#

    Meta’s explosive success so early into the new year puts tech gadgets front and center as an area to watch in 2024. The next 12 months could see wearables from the likes of Meta and its competitors evolve from their white collar worker consumer base to TikTok’s ‘next big thing’ among Gen Z spenders.

    While the trend builds up cultural cachet, Meta’s gambits haven’t gone unnoticed by fashion commentators and their increasingly cynical style communities.

    The Washington Post columnist Jules Terpak wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “It’s unclear if it [the trend] organically happened amongst those with large followings after one person’s video went crazy, or if there’s an undisclosed influencer campaign going on. Regardless, it’s definitely causing a shift in perception.”

    Concerns over personal security and privacy have also been a hot topic. In response, video creators such as tech enthusiast Jeremy Judkins (@jeremyjudkins2 on TikTok) are debunking the rumors over non-consensual recording to tackle consumer scrutiny.

    View post on TikTok

    Influencer marketing prowess#

    Where tech wearables have previously struggled to find their footing in fashion, having the stamp of approval from internet icons is a promising breakthrough for the industry.

    Smart glasses’ widely documented 180 is also a testament to the impact of influencer marketing. In an era when ‘de-influencing,’ post-platform communities, and whispers of the ‘death of influencer promos’ are mounting, Meta’s colossal campaign reaffirms the power of content creators to wield cultural clout and spark viral phenomena.

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