US Consumer Wearables Forecast (2017-2022) Shows Smartwatches Will Drive Sales

Shaurya Priya
Forecast Manager
April 13, 2017

Personal wearable devices adoption in the US rapidly increased in 2014 and 2015. But, Forrester’s US Consumer Wearables Forecast (2017-2022) shows that the market is now maturing and undergoing consolidation. The devices which offer higher utility to users will grow while devices offering lower utility gradually diminish in importance. This means that:

·         Future of wearables lies in smartwatches: Smartwatches are getting smarter every year. They now have a better and more intuitive user interface. The app ecosystem is also rapidly improving. For example, even cheaper smartwatches can now track your health and exercise with a high degree of accuracy. NFC payments at a superstore checkout also have greater traction as more stores now have required technology (this essentially involves using a mobile payment service such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay installed on a smartwatch to pay). Newer software, such as Android Wear 2.0, offers great speech recognition capabilities and make the negative of small screen space redundant. Using Siri on Apple Smartwatches and, now, Google Assistant on Android Smartwatches (with Android Wear 2.0) you can search the web, manage appointments, holidays and e-mails. As the utility delivered by smartwatches grows and app ecosystem matures, the adoption and sales are likely to increase rapidly.

·         Apple Watch remains leader among Smartwatches:Apple watch is the most popular smartwatch and this is not likely to change in near future. Apple will continue to offer one of the best ecosystems among all smartwatches for the foreseeable future and its sales are also growing. It’s also a device which complements Apple smartphones. During the fourth quarter earnings call Apple’s CEO Tim Cook remarked “it was also our best quarter ever for Apple Watch — both units and revenues — with holiday demand so strong that we couldn't make enough.”

The ForecastView team at Forrester recently published a market sizing study on the US Consumer Wearables market where we analyse trends in installed base, unit sales, sales revenue, adoption and trends by device types.

Note:

We define wearable technology as electronic devices, capable of storing and processing data, that are:

·         Sensor-laden and Internet-connected – These devices provide physical, contextual information.

·         Worn on the body – They are not implanted or medically prescribed devices.

·         Compatible with a phone, but not a phone – The devices are dependent on compatibility but independent; they can operate as standalone. They are either extensions of a mobile phone or companion devices without a lot of processing power on their own.

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