You may have seen them at the mall, the Internet, or maybe on television, but this year thousands of Americans are hoping to see them under the tree: the hoverboard is the most popular tech gift this season. As the, “hottest-selling tech gadget this holiday season…deal-seekers bought more than 5,000 of these ultra-cool self-balancing scooters on eBay. The online marketplace claims they are now selling one every 12 seconds.”
The popular item is not without risks though. Recent reports suggest hoverboards come with their own special set of safety risks. “Dozens of injuries, some serious, have resulted from crashes and falls. Currently there is no requirement that safety equipment be worn when riding a hoverboard, but it is highly suggested that users wear a helmet, wrist guards and kneepads.”
Two boards, the Fit Turbo and the HoverBoost Hoverboard, have recently come under fire, literally and figuratively. The hoverboards require lithium-ion batteries, and both of them erupted in flames. Tech experts are urging parents to read the charging directions carefully to avoid any flammable mishaps. However, “it is not clear if the batteries are to blame.”
Hoverboards retail for anywhere from $270 to $2,000 and emerged on the market back in 2013. A Chinese manufacturer called, “Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology (later shortened to Chic Robotics),” developed the initial product as a “two-wheeled scooter balanced on a gyroscope.” After Chic Robotics, “other Chinese companies began making them, white-labeling them as “hoverboards.” American manufacturers—such as IO Hawk, Zero G and WONFAST—soon piled on.”
If you are excited by the prospect of a hoverboard, don’t start by looking in brick-and-mortar stores. While some mall kiosks have boards, “patent disputes over the gadgets have caused major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, to back off after initially announcing they would have them in stock for the holidays.” They are, however, available at Amazon, Shopify, eBay, and Modell’s Sporting Goods, which sells a version in small supply.
While over 40 models are listed online at Amazon.com, the product remains consistent under different names. While the risks and safety hazards are well-documented and numerous, “sales for these glorified scooters have been steadily increasing over the past few months due to celebrities and pro athletes posting their rides on social media. And it’s not expected to slow anytime soon—not even with the NYPD’s recent announcement banning hoverboards from city streets, with the threat of other major hubs following suit.”
New technology is always exciting—for holiday shopping and for business. At Apex Financial Advisors, we are always looking for the next great opportunity to share with our clients. If you are looking to build and protect your wealth, contact an expert at Apex Financial Advisors today.