Sales of smart wearable devices will double by 2022, reaching 233 million units sold and raising market value exceeding $27 billion, according to the latest forecast published by CCS Insight.
“Smartwatches continue to gain in popularity, primarily thanks to the success of market leader Apple, which extended its product range with the launch of its Series 4 Apple Watch in September. The company is also offering the Apple Watch at the broadest range of prices so far, making it even more accessible to iPhone owners,” reports CSS Insight.
CCS’ report states that 85 million smartwatches will be sold in 2019, increasing to 137 million in 2022, but that sales of fitness trackers will drop by 43 million this year to 39 million within those four years.
“The combination of Apple’s success with its Watch and the high engagement levels we’re seeing among smartwatch owners reflects the value people are now placing on these products. It’s a step change from a few years ago, when we consistently saw high levels of abandonment from early smartwatch users, who quickly became disenchanted with initial products,” said George Jijiashvili, CCS Insight’s senior analyst for wearables.
CCS claims that the launch of Apple Watch 4 last month is a main driver in smartwatch adoption and subsequent interaction. The research firm believes the high engagement among current smartwatch owners will provoke a wave of replacement sales in coming years.
Jijiashvili adds: “We’re hugely encouraged that established watchmakers such as Fossil are betting their future on a wide range of smartwatches for several fashion brands such as Diesel, Michael Kors and Skagen, and premium watchmakers such as Louis Vuitton, Montblanc and TAG Heuer continue to invest in this area. When you combine this with the renewed interest in smartwatches from leading smartphone makers such as Huawei and Samsung, you can see a groundswell of activity that signals a positive outlook for the market.”
The research firm also believes growing adoption of basic cellular-enabled watches, predominantly aimed at kids, is an important factor in the wearables market. The demand for these devices is especially strong in China and there are signs of interest in other regions, despite modest uptake so far, partly because of privacy concerns.
The survey also notes the increasingly important role of Chinese supplier Huami. It expects Huami to make and sell more than 26 million devices with its own brands and with that of its partner Xiaomi in 2018.
Smart hearables are another important wearable device category CCS Insight highlighted in its latest forecast. It believes the growing number of smart connected headphones will boost sales and it projects 27 million hearables will be sold in 2022.
“We’ve seen some excellent products in this area over the past year from companies like Bragi, Jabra, Samsung and Sony. It’s only a matter of time before Apple adds more functions to its AirPods, which will see them fall into our definition of smart hearables. If this happens, Apple could kick-start this device category like it shook up the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch,” said Jijiashvili.