Strategy Analytics: Wearables revenues projected to grow 31 percent in 2016 as smartwatches lead value share

Boston, MA - June 22, 2016: Global wearable device wholesale revenues are expected to grow a healthy 31 percent in 2016 with smartwatches capturing the biggest slice of the wearables revenue pie. Fitness bands will lead worldwide in terms of units-shipped, but their Average Selling Price (ASP) will be held back by continued strong sales of Xiaomi and other ultra-low cost bands in Asia. By 2022 Strategy Analytics forecasts total wholesale wearable devices revenues will top US$45 billion, driven primarily by smartwatches that will be aided by the major operating systems and their sponsors. Despite declining smartwatch prices and the growing impact of smartglasses offering more understated designs by 2022, analysts predict smartwatches will still command more than a 50 percent share of both wearables volume and value.

Strategy Analytics Analyst Steven Waltzer, said, “Improved usability and ecosystem momentum from next gen platforms like watchOS, along with greater consumer choice around style, fashion and standalone connectivity all bode well for smartwatches. Smartwatches will capture 62 percent of global wearable revenues in 2016, peaking in 2017 as smartglasses, clothing and jewelry begin to gain steam. For smartwatches, the ability to run 3rd party applications is at the core of what makes the device ‘smart’ and the ecosystem of app developers is paramount in the effort to discover new killer use-cases beyond notifications and activity tracking. Smartwatches are currently dominated by the mid-tier (US$100-499 wholesale ASP), which is projected to account for 80 percent of smartwatch shipments, and 51 percent of smartwatch revenues in 2016.”

Cliff Raskind, Senior Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Fitbit’s Blaze and Alta models have done remarkably well in developed markets to grow the high-tier US$100+ fitness band segment that accounts for roughly 3 of every 4 bands sold. In contrast, an ASP of scarcely US$30 in Asia will serve to suppress global revenues. Over the long term we expect fitness/health/sports bands to plummet to 2 percent of total wearables revenues by 2022 as more affordable open OS smartwatches proceed to cannibalize this segment. Betting on the long term dominance of fitness bands is akin to putting all of your chips on feature phones a decade ago.”

The smartglasses segment will experience the most revenue growth through 2022, and Strategy Analytics estimates it will rise steadily to become the second largest revenue pool by 2022 behind smartwatches. Emerging technologies from R&D heavyweights like Zeiss and innovators like Lumus, coupled with major investment from eyewear powerhouses like Luxottica, point to the kind of quality, usability, affordability and fashion where smartglasses can be offered as an alternative to standard eyewear. Simply converting 5 to 10 percent of the world’s billion-plus eyewear users to smartglasses means an addressable market well into the tens of millions.

By region, Asia Pacific took the lead in wearables volume share in 2015, and will overtake North America in value share in 2016. North America, however, is and will remain a key area for wearables during the next five years in terms of R&D, innovation, ecosystem development and commanding the highest ASP's.

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