The global smartwatches market is dominated by companies such as Pebble Technology Corporation, Sony Electronics Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Apple Inc., Nike Inc., Garmin Ltd., and Fitbit Inc. According to Transparency Market Research, the top three companies in the market - Samsung Electronics Inc., Nike, Inc., and Garmin, Ltd. - collectively accounted for a 51.8% share in 2013.
The annual revenue of the global smartwatches market is expected to be US$8.7 bn by the end of 2016 and further rise to US$29.7 bn by the end of 2020. The key competitive trends in the smartwatches market are the development of smartwatch operating systems and innovations in communication technology to improve the connection between smartwatches and its parent device. The firmly established research and distribution networks of industry giants such as Samsung and Garmin have thus given them an edge, since they don’t need to spend as much of their overall budgets on R&D as new players.
Rising Interest in Technology, Diversification of Application Drive Smartwatch Market
The global smartwatch market is driven primarily by the modern consumer’s increasing demand for technology to monitor various aspects of their life. While smartwatches weren’t an instant success when they were launched, the subsequent technological advancement has made it much easier to incorporate smartwatches into the existing technological framework. This has enhanced the functionality of smartwatches and has thus boosted their demand. The steady advances in communications technology are likely to be a positive factor for the smartwatch market in the coming years.
The steady growth of smartwatch manufacturers, with startups registering solid growth since the conception of smartwatches, has also helped the global smartwatch market expand its regional reach. The extended distribution and marketing network has aided smartwatch manufacturers in establishing a strong presence across the world, and the rising awareness about the utility of smartwatches can also be credited to the steady growth of the market in the recent past.
“While displaying smartphone notifications and updates remains a key application of smartwatches, their growing popularity is a result of their utility as fitness monitors,” adds TMR’s lead analyst. This capacity, aided by the development of sophisticated fitness and health tracking apps and their easy integration into the smartwatch ecology, has diversified the consumer pool of smartwatches, with the health-conscious middle class expected to play a key role in the development of the smartwatch market in the coming years.
Size Limitations to Restrict Demand for Smartwatches
The key restraint on the global smartwatch market is the inherent limitation imposed by the need to maintain the convenience of a smartwatch as a wrist-worn accessory. Smartwatches need to be light and small in order to be effectively wearable, which places serious restrictions on their battery size. This has been a consistent threat to the smartwatch market, with upcoming models and OS upgrades expected to focus more on power efficiency.
Despite the development of many compatible apps, the smaller displays of smartwatches have led to a significant gap between smartphone and smartwatch operating systems. Many smartphone apps face severe functionality or usability issues due to the small displays of smartwatches, which could keep them from becoming a standard accessory used with smartphones. The rising demand for other types of wearable fitness monitors, which are more focused on fitness monitoring and are thus cheaper and less cumbersome, is also hurting the growth prospects of the global smartwatch market.
North America to Remain Dominant in Global Smartwatch Market
By price, the global smartwatch market is segmented into high-end, mid-end, and low-end smartwatches. Of these, high-end smartwatches remain the leading contributor due to the dominance of established electronics giants such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. However, the increasing demand from middle-class consumers is likely to drive the production of low-end and mid-end smartwatches in the coming years.
Regionally, North America remains the key contributor to the global smartwatches market due to the presence of several global electronics giants and the high purchasing power of the consumers. Despite the steady growth of the Europe and Asia Pacific markets in the coming years, North America is likely to remain the leading regional segment of the global market. The annual revenue of the North America smartwatches market is expected to rise to more than US$9 bn by the end of 2020.
The information in this preview comes from a Transparency Market Research report titled ‘Smartwatches Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 - 2020.’
The global smartwatches market is segmented as follows:
Smartwatches Market, by Price Range
- High-end Smartwatches
- Mid-end Smartwatches
- Low-end Smartwatches
Smartwatches Market, by Operating System
- Android Wear
- Watch OS (iOS)
Smartwatches Market, by Geography
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Middle East and Africa
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