Smartwatches haven’t seen positive sales in 2016
The sales of wearable gadgets have considerably slowed
Global smartwatch shipments will hit 20.1 million units in 2016, up just 3.9 percent from 2015, according to IDC projections. IDC, however, sees 50 million units by 2020.
The biggest takeaway from IDC’s forecast is that the smartwatch category remains a work in progress. According to IDC, a smartwatch is defined as a wearable that can run third party apps. Think Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S3, and Moto 360. IDC also considers smart glasses and advanced wristbands as smart wearables too.
What’s interesting is that basic wearables, like Fitbits, are on the rise. IDC differentiates smartwatches and basic wearables by the devices’ ability to run third-party apps. In contrast to smartwatches, 80.7 million basic wearables are expected to ship in 2016. That’s a 37 percent increase over last year’s 58.8 million figure.
“It is increasingly becoming more obvious that consumers are not willing to deal with technical pain points that have to date been associated with many wearable devices,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
That’s good news for gadget makers. Companies like Apple and Samsung have aggressively pushed their wrist-mounted computing devices, but have yet to persuade most of us they’re more than an expensive accessory. The new Apple Watch Series 2 unveiled last week starts at $369, with prices nearly quadrupling if you want top-end cosmetic options like a ceramic housing.
Apple should ship 10.5 million smartwatches this year, IDC expects, more than half the market. Rival models powered by Google’s Android Wear software are in next place with 4.6 million units shipped. By 2020, Android should nearly catch up, IDC forecasts, with 22.8 million shipments to Apple’s WatchOS at 23.9 million.