The problem with the so-called wearables market isn’t that we don’t know how many wearables are being sold these days, we don’t even have a good definition of what constitutes a wearable. Apple Watch is a wearable. So are AirPods and Beats headphones. Fitbit? Yep. So, what’s the problem? As always, logic and reason take a back seat to sensationalism.
People still aren’t buying smartwatches — and it’s only going to get worse
There is just no way that headline is true. Look around. Do you see anybody with Apple Watch or anything Fitbit? Of course. So, somebody is buying them. But remember, “it’s only going to get worse.” What can be worse than nobody buying something?
Despite a year full of exciting new smartwatches, tech-enabled clothing and jewelry, and fitness-activity trackers galore, the growth of the wearables market is still on the decline, according to a new report from the research firm eMarketer.
Oh, wait. Growth is declining. Well, that happens as markets become saturated with products. The iPhone’s growth rate has been declining but Apple still sells more iPhones every year.
In fact, the category is being overtaken by smart speakers, or at least it was expected to be during the 2017 holiday season.
In fact? Or, “Was expected to be?” The latter doesn’t seem like much of a fact. What’s being overtaken? Total revenue? Total units sold? Or, growth rate? Nobody seems to know. Maybe I just ask too many questions.
eMarketer’s Cindy Liu:
Other than early adopters, consumers have yet to find a reason to justify the cost of a smartwatch, which can sometimes cost as much as a smartphone… Instead, for this holiday season, we expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points.
And yet we see Apple Watches all over the place. And by smart speakers you’re really saying Amazon Echo, right?
It was this time last year that eMarketer first slashed its estimates of people using wearable technology. When eMarketer made its wearables predictions in October 2015, it estimated that use of such devices would grow more than 60% among US adults in 2016. But it grew by only 24.7%.
Why should we believe what eMarketer says this year? They’re wrong every year. Every year.
While the category is growing only minimally, there is still a solid subset of people who use smartwatches… nearly 50 million US adults use some sort of wearable device each month, which translates to about 20% of the population. For comparison, 77% of US adults use a smartphone.
So, smartphone growth has slowed even more than smartwatch growth?
However, the wearables market overall is still dominated by health and fitness trackers. We really haven’t seen a wearable device become the next ‘must-have’ item. Until then, growth will remain conservative.
I thought the wearables market was dominated by earbuds and headphones. You wear them, right? These days I see as many Apple Watch in the wild as Fitbit bands. What does that say? Maybe customers love Watch while Fitbit customers got tired of a fitness band that doesn’t do much?
Other than early adopters, consumers have yet to find a reason to justify the cost of a smartwatch, which can sometimes cost as much as a smartphone
Yet, growth rate for wearables, and Watch specifically, probably remains far higher than the diminished growth rate of smartphones. I know. Guesstimates. The difference here is that Avery Hartmans and Cindy Liu were paid for pushing drivel. I don’t get paid for reporting on it.
When it comes to the smartwatch segment of the wearables industry, Apple Watch rules.