Global wearable market to grow 26% in 2019

Apple Watches are driving wearable growth.
Apple Watches are driving wearable growth.

Worldwide shipment of wearable devices will touch 225 million in 2019, an increase of 25.8 percent from 2018, according to Gartner.End-user spending on wearable devices is expected to hit US$42 billion next year., of which US$16.2 billion will be on smartwatches.

“At the moment, the smartwatch market is bolstered by the relatively stable and higher average selling price (ASP) of the Apple Watch. But the overall ASP of smartwatches is expected to slowly decline from $221.99 in 2018 to $210 in 2022, due to lower-priced competitors and as higher volumes lead to reductions in manufacturing and component costs, while strong brands like Apple and traditional watch brands try to keep pricing stable,” said Alan Antin, Senior Director of Gartner.

In 2019, 74 million smartwatches will be shipped, making smartwatches the top segment of all wearable device form factors.

As the smartwatch segment continues to mature, it will sub-divide into four main types of providers:

  1. leading consumer electronics brands
  2. fashion and traditional watch brands
  3. children’s watches
  4. special-purpose brands and startups that cater to niche audiences such as people with medical issues that need to be monitored

While consumer electronic brands such as Apple, Fitbit and Samsung have a comfortable lead, other brands are gearing up.

“Traditional watch brands such as Fossil and Casio will gain market share by offering more style and choice in their portfolio than the technology brands. We think that fashion and traditional watch brands are likely to account for up to 20 percent of unit shipments by 2022,” said Antin.

By 2022, ear-worn devices shipment will top the wearables segment with 158 million units compared with 115 million smartwatches in 2022. Ear-worn devices, such as Apple AirPods, Samsung’s IconX and Plantronics’ BackBeat FIT, will account for more than 30 percent of all shipped wearables, as their capabilities expand beyond communication and entertainment.

Currently, the main use cases for ear-worn wearables are fitness and health coaching, communications and entertainment, hearing aids/medical devices, and professional.

Future generations of ear-worn devices will be able to accommodate virtual personal assistants and subsequently be used for a multitude of tasks such as queries and hands-free directions.

Moving forward, advanced ear-worn devices can reduce smartphone use, as they will take over many tasks that users solve with the help of their smartphones.

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