Meta’s attempt at popularizing Ray-Ban Smart Glasses falls short of expectations

Meta's attempt at popularizing Ray-Ban Smart Glasses falls short of expectations

According to internal data from Meta Platforms, the Ray-Ban smart glasses, which were launched almost two years ago, have faced challenges in gaining popularity among users. The data reveals that less than 10% of the purchased Ray-Ban Stories have been actively used since their launch in September 2021. Meta has sold a total of 300,000 devices, but the number of monthly active users is only around 27,000. Additionally, the device has experienced a 13% return rate.

Despite these disappointing numbers, Meta is planning to release a second generation of the Ray-Ban Stories, either in the fall or next spring. The current version, developed in partnership with EssilorLuxottica, is a significant part of Meta’s hardware strategy. However, the company’s Reality Labs division has incurred an operating loss of nearly $8 billion in the first half of 2023, and executives expect the operating loss to increase further in 2024.

Meta’s vision is to build the metaverse, a virtual space where users can interact with each other in real-time, and the Ray-Ban Stories are seen as a precursor to augmented-reality glasses. While the new version is expected to come with improvements such as better battery life and improved cameras, it won’t include augmented reality features like content projection into the real world.

The second generation of the Ray-Ban Stories is hoped to have broader compatibility with various Ray-Ban frames. The current starting price for the first-generation glasses is $299, with some models currently listed at a discount. However, the pricing for the second generation is yet to be determined.

Meta aims to enhance the device’s quality and how users discover its features, with the goal of maintaining a rating of 4.0 or higher for the accompanying app, called Facebook View, on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Currently, the app has ratings of 4.5 on the Apple App Store and 4.4 on the Google Play Store.

In terms of sales expectations, Meta set a goal of 478,000 unit sales for the entire lifetime of Ray-Ban Stories, but another forecast in the document predicts sales of 394,000 units.