The global shipments of smartwatches in 2019 are estimated to total around 62.63 million units, according to the latest tracking analysis from the research firm TrendForce. Looking ahead to 2020, smartwatch sales will benefit from the lower prices of the earlier versions of the Apple Watch devices and the releases of new smartwatch models from other branded device manufacturers. TrendForce forecasts that the global smartphone shipments in 2020 will grow by 28.6% YoY to around 80.55 million units. The total shipments of the Apple Watch devices for the same year are also forecasted to grow by 21.8% YoY to around 34 million units.
“The strong demand for the Apple Watch has been the chief growth driver of the whole smartwatch market,” said Jason Tsai, TrendForce analyst for wearable devices. Tsai pointed out that Apple adjusted the prices of the Series 1 models in conjunction with the launch of the Series 2 models. The move helped galvanize the overall sales of the Apple Watch devices.
“Apple’s success in the smartwatch market is based on an effective pricing strategy and a proactive approach to the development of new products,” Tsai added. “The price cut for the Series 1 models, in particular, has been a significant help in boosting shipments.”
The upcoming release of the Series 5 models will again accompany by a price reduction for the Series 3 models. Furthermore, new products and perhaps new brands will soon be entering the market. All these factors will sustain the strong growth momentum in the future. TrendForce’s long-term analysis of the smartwatch market currently forecasts that the global shipments in 2022 will break the ceiling of 100 million units to a total of around 113 million units.
Tsai noted that smartwatches still lack dedicated killer apps that can really pique the curiosity of most consumers. However, these devices have already incorporated a diverse range of biometric and lifestyle functions that demonstrate value to their users. The focus of product development has also shifted. Instead of adding new hardware components and functions, device manufacturers now aim to raise consumers’ interest in adopting smartwatches.
As Tsai further explained: “The emphasis on value over specs gives entry-level models a key role in sales. This is the reason why the Apple Watch models of the latest Series 5 are not that much different hardware-wise from the models of the discontinued Series 4, and why Apple has kept the Series 3 models as the entry-level options.”
It is also worth mentioning that device manufacturers have now turned their attention to wearable devices in part because of the stagnating growth in the smartphone market. Besides smartwatches, the major hardware brands are also allocating more of their resources into developing other categories of wearable offerings with good demand potential, such as Bluetooth wireless earphones. According to Tsai, the established wearable brands including Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi will continue to launch new smartwatch models, while some other well-known brands in the smartphone market such as OPPO, Vivo, and Google could make forays into the smartwatch market in the near future. TrendForce currently projects that the global shipments of non-Apple smartwatches in 2020 will register a sizable YoY growth of 34%. The arrival of new products and market entrants could lead to a noticeable change in the relative market shares of the Apple Watch and the non-Apple smartwatches.