​Smartwatches grow – but Apple and Fitbit could lose out to Chinese upstarts

Signs that hybrid smartwatches are stuttering according to latest trends report
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Smartwatches are on the rise, but the big growth is coming from new players – not the old guard according to new predictions from analysis firm Juniper Research.

According to the company’s catchy Smartwatches: Digital & Hybrid Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2019-2023, the smartwatch market will grow to 166 million per year – but this could be at the cost of the market share of Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and Fossil Group. The report states that the combined share of those four companies will fall from 58% to 47%.

Essential reading: Best smartwatches to buy right now

And it’s the Chinese market – and Garmin – that will see this balance of power shift. Juniper says that the Chinese market is now bigger than the North American one, and is set to treble by 2023.

“The decline is linked to the growth of smaller players, including Garmin, Huami and Huawei amongst others,” the report says. This shows the effect of watches like the Amazfit Bip, which is an Amazon Bestseller and its successor the Bip 2, which has recently leaked out and is expected to be announced soon.

The report states that smaller players will find market share by operating in niches, and points to Withings gaining a foothold in the medical area:

“Juniper forecasts that Apple and Withings will lead the way in terms of healthcare integration, followed by Fitbit and Garmin.”

And there’s some other interesting predictions. As Kronaby struggles to stay afloat, it looks like the hybrid smartwatch market – which many saw as the potential driver for smartwatches – is falling away.

“The adoption of hybrid smartwatches will be slower than expected; hybrid smartwatches represented an estimated 22% 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.”

​Smartwatches grow – but Apple and Fitbit could lose out to Chinese upstarts

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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