The global smartwatch market was valued at the volume of 68.59 million units in 2020, and it is expected to reach 230.30 million units by 2026, registering a CAGR of 21.98% during the forecast period (2021-2026). With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the global demand for electronics slumped significantly during the first quarter of 2020. However, the sales of wearable devices such as smartwatches witnessed a major influx from online sales, cutting out various other costs involved in sales, owing to which the buyers were capable of buying products for lower prices on online platforms and comparing features and prices.
Due to the rising penetration rates of urbanization, the demand for aesthetically appealing advanced products to serve better the consumers’ requirements, such as time schedules and multiple features in one device, has been driving the need for smartwatches globally. Moreover, the huge millennial population has been adopting smartwatches due to the increased spending for their regular work hours tracking and luxury standards.
Currently, most smartwatches are designed for being paired with smartphones (via Bluetooth), which function as the information gateways so that these watches can share phone notifications, such as text messages, email notices, or application alerts. However, smartwatches are not interchangeable since they can usually only be paired with a limited number of compatible smartphones. For instance, Samsung’s Gear A smartwatch only works with Samsung Galaxy series smartphones, and the Apple Watch only works with iPhone 6 and above series phones. As a result, current smartwatches available from mobile device manufacturing companies are more like smartphone accessories than standalone devices since they require access to a compatible smartphone to relay additional useful information to their owners.
Smartwatches are seeing a surge in new users, including the older age population, because wearable makers, such as Apple and Fitbit, are adding health-monitoring features that appeal to older people and keep them updated about their health status in real-time. For instance, Apple features a fall detection app and an EKG monitor to Apple Watch Series 4, while Fitbit added a feature to detect sleep apnea. The next generation of Apple watches is expected to feature glucose monitoring for people with diabetes. The company also collaborated with L’Oreal to design the first skin sensor that detects UVA and UVB exposure. Consumers are trending toward connected monitoring devices, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this trend is expected to ramp up through 2021. According to the Consumer Technology Association, US tech industry revenue will reach a record-breaking USD 487 billion in 2021, a 7.5% y-o-y jump. Moreover, Smartwatches demand is expected to grow by 8% in unit shipments, driven by tech-savvy and fashion-conscious consumers.
Fitbit’s most advanced smartwatch can track heart rate, SpO2, and skin temperature, with the company now investigating whether it can measure blood pressure with a new study for Sense owners. Nearly every other adult in the United States has high blood pressure, while many do not know they possess it. Fitbit Labs launched a blood pressure study in April 2021 to potentially measure Pulse Arrival Time (PAT), or the time it takes for a pulse of blood to reach the wrist after one’s heartbeats. The company, through such developments and researches, wants to explore the potential link to tracking blood pressure and needs a wider data set.
Patients tend to forget to take their medications for many reasons. Wearables can play an important role by alerting people when it is time to take their medicines and can keep track of when they take them. Such trends are expected to drive smartwatch adoption in medical applications among individual users during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
The Sports Segment to Account for a Significant Market Share
Smartwatches are increasingly becoming a key wearable fitness technology. Users are connecting them to different apps to track various types of data. Most of the time, a smartwatch can also be used as a tracking device, lowering the barrier of access and offering a great experience to the users, which is why smartwatches are expected to become a critical part of the industry in the near future.
The impact of technologies on recent advancements in the fitness industry laid the foundation for stakeholders in smartwatch devices. Monitoring is a critical focus area of the market. It is witnessing an increasing integration of intelligence into smartwatch devices, offering real-time insights based on the individual’s data. New features in smartwatches with time schedules offer to track physical activities, due to which the growth in the smartwatch devices is expected to witness a comparatively high growth rate. The growing investments by numerous smartwatch vendors to eliminate any preventable injuries of highly paid professional athletes are anticipated to fuel the number of smartwatches developed for professional usage.
The component suppliers, such as ARM and Qualcomm, are actively introducing processors and chipsets to cater to the ever-increasing needs of the customers for the multipurpose performance features across the sports and fitness segment.
For instance, Qualcomm offers its made-for-wearables processor, Snapdragon Wear 3100. The processor is very prominent across many smartwatches in the market. The processor was designed to maximize battery life and utility in a variety of scenarios. Watchmakers, such as Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc, use the Snapdragon Wear 3100 in their smartwatches.
Furthermore, the launch of new products with enhanced features by some prominent vendors worldwide is expected to drive market growth. For instance, in June 2021, Garmin International Inc. announced its new product, the Forerunner 945 LTE, a premium GPS running and triathlon smartwatch with LTE connectivity. The watch was designed to help athletes stay connected on the go. The watch also brings phone-free safety and tracking features, spectator messaging, and live event sharing to the wrist while also providing the detailed training data, performance monitoring tools, and smartwatch features that the athletes today have come to rely on.
Asia Pacific Region is Expected to have Significant Growth
Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth in the smartwatch market, owing to the growing consumer electronics industry, coupled with a rapid rise of smartwatch market vendors across the emerging economies of the region. The increasing tech-savvy population, a rising pool of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, and the growing popularity of health and fitness to maintain a healthy lifestyle drive the market growth. The Chinese watch market is becoming more casual and is rewarding smartwatch brands. Leading tech companies and tech-obsessed consumers are driving a sharp spike in smartwatches. China’s Xiaomi became one of the prominent makers and sellers of smartwatches.
Smartwatches and smart wristbands are becoming popular, with nearly 70% of Chinese smartwatch owners owning a wristband. Local smartwatch brands responded promptly to this trend and snapped up most of the market share. There is an opportunity for western brands to copy from China and establish leading positions in their home markets.
In China, children contributed toward the growth of the country’s smartwatch industry. BKK Electronics, a Chinese multinational firm, performed well with the largest growth rates in smartwatch shipments, surging 64% year on year. BBK Electronics is primarily known as the rising domestic smartphone brands, like Vivo and Oppo. After China, countries such as Japan and India have been the primary consumers of smart wearable technology in the Asia-Pacific region. For instance, in May 2020, Garmin announced that its smartwatch owners in Japan could add their Suica transit card to their wearable device and use it to pay for public transportation and at stores that accept Suica payments. The service is compatible with Android and iOS devices and currently available for ten different Garmin models owners.
Some of the ongoing partnerships and collaboration among the prominent players across the region are further expected to expand the scope of the market studied during the forecast period. For instance, Huami Corporation partnered with PAI Health, which is a health technology software company, to combine Huami’s massive biometric database collected by the high-quality smartwatch devices and powerful algorithms, along with PAI Health’s software to offer a scientifically validated approach to help address some of the health risks that are associated with an inactive lifestyle.
Moreover, in April 2021, Casio Computer Co. Ltd announced the release of the GSW-H1000, a G-SQUAD PRO smartwatch powered by Wear OS by Google and packed with functions designed to assist users in achieving their activity goals and utilizing fitness tracking features. The GSW-H1000 is oriented toward usage in various athletic settings, including running, indoor workouts, road biking, swimming, surfing, and snowboarding.
The smartwatch market is a fragmented market, and therefore companies are banking on product innovation and product development to gain an edge and the number of local players. This makes the rivalry intense in the market. Key players are Apple Inc., Fitbit Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, among others. Recent developments in the market are:
Sep 2021- Apple Inc launched Apple Watch 7 with the latest OS at the Apple event bringing the first redesign to Apple’s smartwatch line, and the watch will be available from October worldwide. The Apple Watch 7 has retained the rounded edges but with thinner bezels for 20% more screen area than the Watch 6 and has new sizes of 41mm and 45mm.
Aug 2021-Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 4 among its new product lineup. The Galaxy Watch4 is available in 44mm and 40mm models, both LTE and Bluetooth variants. It has a new Samsung BioActive Sensor that captures the body composition in real-time to inform users about health goals. Galaxy Watch4 features a simple design with a streamlined Armor Aluminum metal frame. It offers high-end looks and functionality for workouts and day-to-day tasks.
April 2021 - Garmin Ltd. announced the expansion of its Venu Series by launching Venu 2 and Veny 2S GPS smartwatches. These watches are equipped with health-monitoring features and have more than 25 built-in sports applications with enhanced graphics compared to their older versions.
The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
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