Seven and a half million smartwatches with cellular connectivity will ship in 2016, rising to 53.6 million in 2020, according to Canalys. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 63 percent from 2016 to 2020.
In the short term, shipments are likely to be driven by a new Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. Samsung and LG have been very aggressive in bringing new cellular technologies to market, with smart watches such as the Gear S2 classic 3G/4G and the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, and will also play significant roles. Both the Tizen and Android Wear smart watch platforms already support cellular connectivity.
‘The phase 2 eSIM specification will enable more independent smart watches with a smoother user experience around cellular connectivity. Users will soon be able to easily choose among cellular providers and pay for monthly service. Many more smart watches with LTE and GPS/GNSS will also be released this year, thanks to the availability of new LTE Category 1 chipsets,” said Daniel Matte, Analyst of Canalys.