Waning enthusiasm for full-touch smartwatches to be offset by smart analogue watches

George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight

CCS Insight’s latest global forecast for smart wearable devices confirms the continued momentum of wrist-worn technology.

As with its previous forecasts, the company expects the lion’s share of sales volumes to come from fitness bands, while smartwatches remain the largest revenue contributor to the overall wearables category.

In fitness trackers, brands such as Fitbit and Xiaomi are leading the charge. CCS Insight expects that 53 million fitness trackers will be sold in 2016, with volumes reaching 165 million in 2020, at a total value of $5 billion.

Smartwatch sales will also continue to grow, with sales reaching 96 million units in 2020, but enthusiasm for full-touch smartwatches has slackened. CCS Insight expects future growth in unit sales of smartwatches to be primarily driven by smart analogue watches.

George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight, commented, “The initial hype around full-touch smartwatches has subsided. Despite concerted efforts by numerous consumer electronics makers to break into the category, this type of smartwatch still feels like a compromise, a solution looking for a problem. The Apple Watch is the only product delivering meaningful volumes and even Apple is struggling to grow sales”.

Jijiashvili continued, “Our research indicates the next wave of growth will come from smart analogue watches. Compared with full-touch smartwatches, these offer the convenience of a traditional watch but with added smart functionalities such as activity and sleep monitoring, all delivered with six- to 12-month battery life”.

CCS Insight believes traditional watchmakers, which have seen sales decline over the past 18 months, are focusing efforts in this area as they try to reinvigorate the market by delivering analogue watches with a smart twist.

Cellular-enabled smartwatches are a segment CCS Insight is tracking closely. China remains the key market for this category, specifically connected products designed for children and elderly consumers. CCS Insight believes this is a trend that will also start to emerge in North America and some Western European markets in the future.

Given the unpredictability of the wearables market, CCS Insight provides its clients with scenario-based forecasts that draw on a variety of different assumptions. One scenario in cellular-enabled smartwatches sees the introduction of an Apple Watch with an embedded SIM in 2017. Such a product would be likely to remain a small subset of total sales, given its premium price and ongoing subscription charges, but it would certainly raise awareness of cellular-enabled wearables.

In the quantified-self category, which is primarily made up of fitness bands, CCS Insight expects China to remain the biggest market worldwide thanks to its large population and low-cost products.

Jijiashvili noted: “In contrast to smartwatches, fitness bands have a very clear purpose in consumers’ eyes. We expect growth on multiple fronts, be that people receiving a device as a gift, buying a fitness tracker for the first time or existing owners upgrading as designs improve and new functionality is added”.

CCS Insight also highlights that there remains a healthy market for performance sports watches. Despite only accounting for 6 percent of unit sales in the quantified-self category by 2020, they will deliver about 20% of the segment’s value.

Another category of note is wearable cameras. CCS Insight expects sales volumes to rise from 14 million in 2016 to 25 million in 2020. The forecast indicates average prices will drop about 40% between 2016 and 2020, and greater affordability will help drive broader adoption.

CCS Insight also expects a growing proportion of 360-degree capable action cameras, with these variants accounting for 15% of all wearables cameras sales by 2020.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow


Building an intelligent IoT with edge fabric

Posted on: August 18, 2022

As the popularity of Edge technology and smart devices increases, we see that there is no bar when it comes to the quantity of data that companies can use to improve their decision-making process. Contrary to this opportunity, many organisations still limit the quality, variety, and extent of data that they can make use of

Read more

MQTT X CLI makes its debut executing MQTT operations has never been easier

Posted on: August 18, 2022

Morgan Hill, CA – EMQ, a global provider of open-source IoT data infrastructure solutions, this week announced the release of MQTT X v1.8.0 to the general public. This release carries significant improvements and strives to enable IoT developers to execute MQTT operations easily and quickly. Additionally, MQTT X v1.8.0 introduces two powerful tools aimed to

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox