The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis. How can this be explained?

Many years ago, when smart bracelets first appeared (even before the first smartwatches), many thought that this was the future and soon everyone would have them. Indeed, they track activity, give recommendations on a healthy lifestyle, some look very good, and most importantly, they receive notifications from the phone. So you can not only use a cool accessory, but also not lose touch with the world, forgetting about missed calls and unanswered SMS. Later, society somehow cooled down to the idea of ​​such a gadget, but is this correct? It turns out that no, and those who helped the market of wearable electronics to grow even in times of crisis prove once again.

The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis.  How can this be explained?

Smart watches have become a real trend. Especially for active people.

How much more smartwatches are being sold

The coronavirus pandemic has limited our movements in every way. The restrictions affected not only our country, but also most countries in Europe and Asia, the United States. Against the background of this and the inevitable fall of the global economy in such a situation, the decline in smartphone sales, which I have already talked about, looks quite logical.

But why, despite this, the market for wearable electronics has grown anyway? At the same time, he grew up very well. According to a report by Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments grew from 11.4 million units in the first quarter of 2019 to 13.7 million units in the first quarter of 2020.

The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis.  How can this be explained?

Smartwatch market growth in millions.

Comparisons between quarters of one year are taken to be the most accurate and not dependent on seasonal fluctuations. For example, comparing the period October-November 2019 with the period January-March 2020, we will only see that people around the world bought many gadgets as a gift to themselves and their loved ones before the New Year and Christmas. Comparing similar periods, we see only a net difference.

Despite significant hurdles caused by COVID-19 concerns, global demand for smartwatches continued to grow. Smartwatches are selling well through online retail channels, while many consumers use smartwatches to monitor their health and fitness during a home lockout due to the virus, said Stephen Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Apple continues to lead the global smartwatch market, while Samsung, Garmin and others are working hard to make up for the difference, with mixed success. Apple Watch's market share increased from 54 percent to 55 percent over the same period last year. In absolute terms, Apple shipped 6.2 million watches Apple Watch in the first quarter of 2019, while shipments rose to 7.6 million in the first quarter of this year.

Samsung ranks second with total shipments of 1.9 million units in the first quarter of 2020. However, its market share fell from 14.9 percent in the first quarter of 2019 to 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020. In many respects, the decline in sales of Samsung watches was facilitated by the early onset of the epidemic in the Asian region and, in particular, in South Korea.

The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis.  How can this be explained?

Distribution of the smartwatch market between manufacturers.

In third place is a brand that has a very big name in the world of electronics, but is not very often associated with smart watches – Garmin. This year, the company not only ranked third in the world, but also increased its share from 7 to 8 percent. The sales growth is even more impressive. It was 38 percent and reached 1.1 million units in the first quarter of 2020. This significant growth is driven by the popularity of Garmin's new smartwatches among sports and fitness enthusiasts.

The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis.  How can this be explained?

There are many smartwatches, but often they differ from each other only in functions.

Smartwatch market prospects

While the smartwatch market has had great success in the first quarter of 2020, Strategy Analytics expects growth to slow down in the second quarter of 2020. Further forecasts so far boil down to the fact that sales will start to grow again in the second half of the year, when buyers will again be able to go to shops and showrooms in order to choose a new electronic gadget.

So far, this is only a forecast and everything may change. The situation very much depends on what will happen next in the world. If the epidemiological situation does not change, it will be premature to talk about growth. That is why so far all predictions are more like fortune-telling. In addition to purely economic laws, there is an important variable – coronavirus – which crosses out all calculations if it changes.

The global smartwatch market has grown despite the crisis.  How can this be explained?

Smart watches allow you not only to watch the time, but also to monitor your health.

Smartwatches continue to have great long-term prospects as young and old people take better care of their health in a post-viral world. Smartwatches can track vital signs of health, such as oxygen levels, and consumers will feel much more comfortable with a virtual health assistant on their wrist. – Woody Oh, Director of Strategy Analytics.

It only remains to add that the top three players in the smartwatch market account for 77 percent of this market. And also the fact that further growth is indeed possible, since, unlike smartphones, smartwatches are still developing and constantly offering something new. Actually, that's why their sales are growing now. If someday they learn to measure their blood sugar levels, they won't have a price at all. And not only among those people for whom control of this indicator is very important.

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