Snap's Spectacles have launched in the UK - so why aren't people snapping them up?

Snapchat Spectacles are now available in Europe, which means a bevy of 'Snapbot' vending machines have popped up - much like the one that appeared in San Francisco at the US launch. 

You know, the one where demand was so high, people were limited to two pairs each and were queuing round-the-block for their chance to get some Snap Spectacles, only for the booth to sell out of the device.

TechRadar went to visit the Snapbot vending machine outside the London Eye in the capital to see who was getting their hands on Snap's Spectacles on their first day of being available in the UK, hoping to see the same bout of enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the same excitement and queues seen at the US launch were sorely missing in London. 

For the hour we spent by the vending machine, there were only eight purchases made, and only two of those were solely for personal use.

We interviewed some of those who did (and didn't) buy the Spectacles to find out what was happening.

Cheerful, not so cheap

Pretty much everyone that we interviewed worked in advertising, media, or tech, and was looking to utilize this new technology for their company. One person that we spoke to who worked in advertising was very upfront about her intentions: "I’m going to be really honest with you, I work in advertising and I want to put them in my creative’s hands."

Sean Tracey from the Labs department of the Financial Times had similar intentions: "We quite like the idea of trying to engage people in new mediums with news media... especially younger millennial audiences." 

This feels significant. The marketing for Spectacles definitely feels millennial focused but is the price millennial friendly?

This was the longest the queue got

This was the longest the queue got

At one point while we were waiting, a mother and teenage son came and looked at the Snapbot. The son was clearly very interested but the mother seemed less convinced. When asked why they weren't buying a pair, the mother Kayla said: "He is interested, it just depends how much he’s got in the bank. 

"It is a lot of money in my eyes for a pair of sunglasses with a camera on it, when you can pick your phone up and film."

Tom, who bought a pair for himself and a pair for his office had this to say about the price: "You’d spend the same amount of money or higher on Ray Bans or Oakleys, so the fact that you can use these to record and take pictures straight away it’s probably about right." 

There is always the possibility that the lack of queues are down to the fact that the Spectacles are also available online. 

In the US, the vending machines were the only place you could get them when they first launched. 

The Spectacles are definitely a talking point but it will be interesting to see how many pairs we'll see on people's faces over the coming summer. 

If our 'snapshot' of launch is anything to go by, then they'll be rarer than spotting an Apple AirPod in the wild.

Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.