The four biggest smartwatch vendors, Apple, Fossil, Fitbit and Samsung, will have their market share for connected watch shipments fall to 47 per cent by 2023, down from an estimated 58 per cent in 2018, according to a new study from Juniper Research.
The decline is linked to the growth of smaller players, including Garmin, Huami and Huawei among others.
While Apple will remain the largest single vendor in terms of shipments over the next four years, Huawei will enjoy the fastest growth, with a CAGR of 20 per cent.
Juniper’s new research, Smartwatches: Digital & Hybrid Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2019-2023, found that smaller players will thrive thanks to strategies tailored for niche markets, use cases or price points; while others are releasing premium smartwatches combining the best of fitness, outdoor activity and health features.
It claimed that an intensified focus on healthcare integration will also contribute to the increase of smartwatch shipments over the next few years. Juniper forecasts that Apple and Withings will lead the way in terms of healthcare integration, followed by Fitbit and Garmin.
The rise of smaller players is linked to the rapid expansion of the Chinese market offering lower-priced smartwatches. Far East and China has now overtaken North America as the most dominant market, with over 24 million smartwatches shipped in 2018 against 19.5 million for North America.
The gap between these two markets will deepen further by 2023, with Far East and China trebling its shipments by that time.
The adoption of hybrid smartwatches will be slower than expected; hybrid smartwatches represented an estimated 22 per cent of all smartwatches in 2018.
This slower growth is linked to smaller players focusing on digital smartwatches offering more possibilities in terms of apps, connectivity and sensors than hybrid watches, which remain limited in their functionality.