We are experiencing exciting times across the mobile technology market, most notable the smartwatch category, which is witnessing a hotbed of diversification and innovation. Smartwatches are expected to see significant increases in demand, growing 47% in volume terms during the first half of 2018, this is according to the latest Worldwide Wearables report from Futuresource Consulting.
“The first half of 2018 has seen renewed interest in Smartwatches. Fitbit, launching its Ionic and Versa, have turned to multi-functional devices following consumer demand for smart wearables. Samsung has also announced its latest smartwatch, providing consumers with a premium smartwatch alternative to the Apple Watch,” commented James Manning Smith, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Apple has been steadily gaining market share over the last two years, which has been testament to the Apple Watch’s success, however this has been compounded by the fact that the competition has been slow to update their smartwatch models.
“With Samsung’s recent smartwatch announcement, and Apple’s looming watch update, IFA is expected to see a bigger focus on the wearable category, with more smartwatches on display and a greater focus on product accessories. It is expected that a new flagship Android Wear smartwatch will arrive before the end of 2018. Once this has been launched, consumers will have the best selection of smartwatches than ever before, initiating a strong holiday season for the market.”
The latest research from Futuresource highlights how consumers are now more receptive to the benefits of owning a smartwatch. This is driving first time purchases and upgrades from activity trackers, sport watches and other basic wearable technology. Futuresource forecasts a shift in buying patterns towards higher-end devices, due to continuous product development addressing problems in early product development.
Convergence of fitness, communication and productivity functionally has driven smartwatch sales, but now independent LTE connectivity is expected to bring a new wave of smartwatch adoption, as consumers reap the benefits of standalone devices. LTE is expected to be a major feature upgrade in forthcoming devices during 2018 and 2019, with sales volume forecast to grow by 539% in 2018 thanks to increasing international availability.
“The growth of LTE smartwatches is in its early days. However, their popularity so far shows that smartwatches can break away from being considered a smartphone companion, to becoming a device with its independent merit,” adds Manning Smith. “There is an ecosystem developing that will allow consumers to leave their phones at home, but still benefit from many of the communication functionality we rely on. Music streaming, contactless payments, calls & messaging and voice controls are all key features being added to standalone smartwatches, resonating with consumers worldwide.”
During the remaining months of 2018, a number of high profile product launches are expected to push smartwatches back into the public eye, with purchase options arriving from a number of brands. Consumers will have more choice, and vendors will be keeping a closer watch on the upcoming technological developments that could drive sales of wearable devices. Futuresource expects a much more competitive market moving forward, with greater investment in product development, resulting in product improvements across the board.
If you would like to learn more about key trends and opportunities across the consumer video devices market, then please get in touch via the button below.
Latest Consumer Electronics Insights