New data from Juniper Research shows the Apple Watch has claimed 52% of global smartwatch shipments in 2015, despite only launching at the end of April. Its popularity far eclipsed that of rival vendors, with Android Wear shipments comprising less than 10% of sales for the year.
According to the new research, Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S2 has not achieved strong sales volumes since it launched in November despite being well received. Most other smartwatch sales are currently coming from cheaper, simpler devices from a range of smaller players, such as Martian, X and Razer, the latter with the recently-announced Nabu Watch.
Lack of a Use Case Leads to Convergence and Simplification
The research, Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2016-2020, demonstrates how the continued lack of a strong use case for smartwatches means that, Apple Watch aside, the market thus far has been driven by lower priced devices with more basic functionality. These devices, from the Breitling B55 Connected to the Martian Guess Connected are typically providing basic notification and tracking functions, without an app-capable operating system on the device itself.
Iterating Into the Wearable Future
The research argues that while many smartwatch vendors have produced ranges of watches, allowing for customisation and price segmentation, there have been no great leaps forward that have revolutionised the category. ‘The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market,’ remarked research author James Moar. ‘Newer devices have offered more polished looks and subtly different functions, but no large changes in device capabilities or usage. With smartwatch functions established, it is now up to consumers to decide if they want them, rather than technology companies providing more reasons.’
Other key findings
- The smartwatch ecosystem is growing rapidly, with dedicated software companies emerging to supply both games and productivity-based apps.
- While the price point remains high for smartwatches, finance deals with retailers will be a key part in mitigating this concern, as well as making smartwatches more visible to general consumers.
The whitepaper, Smartwatches: Clocking the Trend, is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research.
Source: Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.