Apple Watch losing ground in the wearables market
The latest iteration of the Apple Watch was unveiled yesterday at the company's 2018 device release event. It comes with many features new to the smartwatch line, including FDA-approved electrocardiography capabilities. Its release may be just in time for the sake of its performance in the market that has been built around it and similar devices. A new research report suggests that the Apple Watch has lost its grip on the smartwatch space.
This report, compiled and released by ABI Research, indicates that this loss in market share is not due to an overall decline in smartwatch uptake. Even though such a trend has been apparent for years, ABI now asserts that it is about to be thrown in reverse. Smartwatches have a main competitor in the wearables arena: activity trackers. These devices have been eroding the dominance of smartwatches in their shared market for some time. However, ABI Research now estimates that smartwatches will outpace activity trackers in terms of popularity by 2020. The report also projects that smartwatch shipments will grow by 68 million within five years, whereas those of activity trackers will increase by only 15 million in the same span of time.
The report also suggested that this trend was driven by the increased diversity of smartwatch brands and options, although LG, Samsung and Motorola still lead the field in terms of market share. However, it also stated that the Apple Watch's share had dropped by 14% between the first quarter of 2017 and that of 2018. ABI also believes that the resurgence in smartwatch sales is due to the improved feature-set of these devices (e.g. heart-rate or fitness tracking). On the other hand, the devices have become more focused on their own strengths, rather than just being an extension of a connected smartphone. Accordingly, FitBit, which now also offers health-directed smartwatches, had taken 10% of the market by 2018.
Therefore, Apple may now be in hopes that this bit of bad news can be offset by the draw of the Watch 4 and what it is supposed to be capable of.