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Smartwatch market to double over next four years


It is forecast that sales of smartwatches will double over the next four years from 43 million being shipped in 2017 to 86 million in 2012.


The figures from global analyst CCS Insight follow discussions with key players in the watch industry, as well as major component suppliers. George Jijiashvili, wearables


analyst at CCS Insight, said: “The Apple Watch has been the trailblazer for this category. Its success prompted traditional watchmakers to enter the smartwatch market. Fossil, Guess Watches and TAG Heuer were among the first to embrace the opportunity”. The firm also noted that


performance fitness watches from companies such as Garmin, TomTom, Polar and Suunto are seeing steady growth while continuing to deliver consistent sales volumes over the past few years. Jijiashvili continued: “It’s clear that


companies like Apple and Samsung have recognised the success of performance fitness watches and have implemented more and more fitness features into their own smartwatches to broaden their appeal. There’s currently an air of cautious optimism among smartwatch makers, especially as sales of fitness bands appear to have stalled.” In contrast to earlier forecasts, CCS


Insight has significantly downgraded its expectations for more-basic “smart analogue” watches. Jijiashvili continued: “We had


initially anticipated that smart analogue watches would be the major source of sales volumes


in the coming years, but the watches available over the past 18 months have failed to live up to expectations”. CCS Insight also reports that


smartwatches designed to allow parents to track their children, which is primarily a Chinese phenomenon at present, are now the biggest smartwatch segment in volume terms. According to CCS, the kids’ watch


segment in China saw 16 million units sold in 2016 alone and the firm expects the number to rise to over 25 million by 2021. With an eye on future


developments, CCS Insight predicts Apple will release a cellular-enabled version of the


Apple Watch in 2017. This is reflected in the analyst firm’s latest forecast, which projects that 9% of full-touch smartwatches will be cellular-enabled in 2017, growing to 12% by 2021. The forecast factors in a growing proportion of replacement purchases in the smartwatch market, which will boost sales volumes in later years. CCS Insight’s forecasts for


smartwatches form part of the company’s broader wearables forecast, which encompasses fitness bands, smart clothing (including footwear), hearables and wearable cameras. It predicts that the market is expected to grow in value from just over $10 billion in 2017 to almost $17 billion by 2021.


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