Smartwatch market heading towards steady growth

The Fitbit Versa has been well-received by the market.
The Fitbit Versa has been well-received by the market.

The worldwide wearables market is adjusting as smartwatches continue to come to the forefront. In the coming years, smartwatches will encompass more features and functionalities.

Ramon T Llamas, Research Director of IDC’s Wearables team, anticipates that the smartwatches of 2022, even 2020, will make today’s smartwatches seem quaint.

“Health and fitness is a strong start, but when you include cellular connectivity, integration with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems, and how smartwatches can enable greater efficiencies, the smartwatch market is heading for steady growth in the years to come,” he said.

“The shift in consumer preferences towards smartwatches has been in full swing these past few quarters and we expect that to continue in the coming years,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst of IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

“While Apple will undoubtedly lead in this category, what bears watching is how Google and its partners move forward. WearOS (formerly Android Wear) has been somewhat of a laggard recently and despite expected changes to the OS and the release of new silicon, we anticipate Android-based watches to be WearOS’ closest competitor due to the high amount of customisation available to vendors and the lack of Google services in China,” he said.

“Additionally, keep an eye on the other smartwatch platforms, including Fitbit’s Fitbit OS, Garmin’s Connected IQ, and Samsung’s Tizen. Fitbit’s Versa has had a warm reception in the market, and Garmin’s devices have had a steady presence for many quarters. Expect both companies to dive deeper into health and fitness while exploring new areas as well. Samsung, meanwhile, continues to make strides in the commercial space, including health care and wearable workflows,” said Llamas.

Beyond the typical wrist-worn devices, IDC anticipates earwear to gain momentum as various brands start to capitalise on the growing interest in smart assistants.

Qualcomm’s upcoming silicon designed for this category is likely to also help bolster supply by offering brands a platform solution to build their products. Clothing with built-in sensors is also expected to grow and double its share by 2022.

According to IDC, the wearables market is forecast to ship 124.9 million units by the end of 2018, up 8.2 percent from last year.

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