- Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Fossil's combined share of the smartwatch market will slide to 47% of global shipments by 2023 from an estimated 58% last year, per a forecast from Juniper Research. The growth of smaller smartwatch vendors such as Garmin, Huami and Huawei will challenge the more established brands.
- Yearly shipments of smartwatches worldwide will reach 166 million in 2023, as the Far East and China continue to growth. The region’s 24 million smartwatch shipments last year overtook North America’s 19.5 million to become the biggest market.
- Apple will maintain its status as the biggest single vendor for the next four years, but China's Huawei will see the fastest expansion with a 20% yearly growth. Hybrid smartwatches with limited functionality will see slower growth from their 22% share of the smartwatch market last year, per Juniper.
Juniper's forecast adds to research indicating that demand for smartwatches will continue as the market becomes more crowded with new devices. That growth could mean more opportunities for mobile marketers to develop apps that expand the functionality of the devices for consumers, as more sophisticated voice assistants expand the devices beyond health and fitness tracking.
Apple helped to expand the smartwatch category with the release of the Apple Watch four years ago. Apple doesn’t disclose sales for the wearable device, grouping it with other gadgets whose sales grew 33% to $7.3 billion in the final three months of last year. Apple Watch shipments rose 54% to 4.2 million in Q3 2018 from a year earlier, according to an estimate from International Data Corp. The researcher forecast that smartwatches will boost their share of the total wearables market to 63% by 2022 from 58% in 2018, with the next generation of watches having more interactivity with Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart appliances.
Juniper forecasts that China will grow its lead as the world's biggest market for smartwatches over the next few years. That will help device makers like Huawei, which is one of the biggest makers of smartphones in China alongside Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. Apple last year struggled in China as consumers rejected its higher-priced smartphones in favor of local brands with lower prices and expanded functionality from WeChat, the all-in-one app from Tencent Holdings that has expanded from messaging to let users shop, pay bills, order food, hail rides and read news, among other features.
Google this year may shake up the wearables market with the release of the long-rumored Pixel Watch, which could be announced at its regularly scheduled fall event for new product announcements. The company also will release updated Google Home smart speakers and a lower-priced smartphone to exploit Apple's weakness in less expensive phones, per Nikkei Asian Review. Apple’s least expensive iPhone, the XR, has a base price of $749, while Google’s smartphones start at $799 at the Google Store.