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What will drive the overall smart watch market?

Posted: 08 May 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart watch? Apple Watch? Android? smartphone?

IHS Inc. forecasts the smart watch market to grow from 3.6 million unit shipments in 2014 to 101 million in 2020.

"Apple Watch success will drive the overall smart watch market," said Antonios Maroulis, analyst at IHS Technology. "The smart watch will become a key accessory device offered by most leading smartphone manufacturers seeking to dominate this new profitable market. We forecast the ratio of smart watch shipments to smartphone shipments will increase from 1:500 to 1:20 between 2014 and 2020."

Apple's entry into the smart watch market will benefit all smart watch suppliers as Apple's marketing raises consumer awareness of the category and explains the benefits clearly.

The Apple Watch will leave an enormous addressable market untapped because the Apple Watch requires a modern iPhone and has a starting price of $349. The two billion Android smartphone users and those Apple customers unwilling to spend so much on a smart watch is a large target for Android smart watch makers.

IHS Technology expects Apple Watch to succeed

In the IHS baseline smart watch forecast, Apple's 2015 Apple Watch shipments will hit 19 million units, or 56 per cent of the total smart watch market. Over time, IHS forecasts Apple's share of the market will fall to 38 per cent in 2020 as other smart watch makers refine their products and successfully serve the vast Android smartphone market, which Apple chooses not to address.

Google's Android Wear will ship 96 million units over the next five years, leveraging the vast Android smartphone installed base. Should Google add iPhone support, it will increase its addressable market still further, the IHS report says.

"Should Apple stumble with its foray into smart watches, the smart watch market will suffer similarly. Smart watches could then follow the fate of Google Glass. Without Apple and its marketing strength, the smart watch category needs greater marketing spend from other smart watch makers to overcome damage to consumer perceptions," forecasts Ian Fogg, senior director of Mobile & Telecoms at IHS. "Apple's smart watch competitors need the Apple Watch to succeed."


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