International Data Corporation has projected that the Apple smartwatch would dominate the market with a 61.3 percent market share. New data from UK-based Juniper Research, however, show that Apple’s actual performance in global smartwatch shipments is actually at 52 percent.
While the forecast released on Dec. 17 differs by 9.3 percent compared to the actual 2015 sales, it is undeniable that Apple’s smartwatches have taken the lead, leaving only only 48 percent in the wearables market for rival companies to compete over.
Android Wear accounted for less than 10 percent of 2015 total sales, with consumers opting for wearables with more basic functionality from smaller players that offer cheaper devices.
“The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market, … it is now up to consumers to decide if they want them, rather than technology companies providing more reasons,” James Moar, the research author, said.
That doesn’t mean that companies are giving up on enticing consumers into purchasing their smartwatches, of course. At the CES 2016 alone, several new smartwatch models and designs have been introduced, many of which focused on either a classy look to attract female consumers, or a rugged outdoorsy design that can compete with sportswatches.
“The most common type of wearables today are fairly basic, like fitness trackers, but over the next few years we expect a proliferation of form factors and device types,” IDC Mobile Device Trackers’ Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani said.
Design Changes And Refocused Target Market
A huge number of smartwatches scheduled for release in 2016 have gone back to the classic wristwatch look with a circular face. But Apple is standing by its blocky frame and making up for it with a design targeted to females. This is the case with the 42mm Rose Gold Aluminium Case with Stone Sport Band.
Huawei is also on board the bandwagon of making luxurious-looking smartwatches targeted at female consumers. It even partnered with Swarovski for its Jewel and Elegant models. Both models boast genuine Italian leather straps and a Swarovski crystal-dotted frame, and both will be available around March 2016.
On the other hand, LG is focused on the second generation of its urban design line. The second edition has a crisp unisex, urban design and has a full range of wireless connections. The LG Watch Urbane 2 is slated for release sometime in the first quarter of 2016 and all models are compatible with both Android and iOS run devices.
Then there is Casio’s WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch which is built to military specifications. Casio’s target market for this model are enthusiasts of outdoor activities such as trekking, cycling and fishing, as one of its main functions is to provide real-time data, which it collects from Google applications and services.
“In a short amount of time, smartwatches have evolved from being extensions of the smartphone to wearable computers. … Smartwatch platforms will lead the evolution,” IDC’s Research Manager Ramon Llamas said.
The Future Of Smartwatches
IDC showed in its forecast that Google’s Androidwear-powered smartwatch will eventually gain footing and take hold of 38.8 percent of the market share by 2019, accounting for a 80.5 percent five-year compound annual growth rate. While Apple’s Smartwatch will only have 36.5 percent of the five-year CAGR.
It is highly probable that Apple ‘s market share may face a big challenge soon, considering many of the new designs unveiled during the CES 2016 are individual company releases that might sell for a lower price tag.
Whether IDC’s forecast is precise or not, we can only wait and observe how both manufacturers and consumers will respond to the functionalities of new smartwatch models slated for release soon.