Wearables in numbers: Smartwatch and fitness tracker winners and losers

We look at market share and shipments of the big players
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The wearable tech market is still going from strength to strength – with growing shipments and sales across smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.

Smartwatches are still growing quickly with the likes of Apple and Samsung gaining big market share. But so are fitness trackers, which continue to defy prophesies of doom.

But wearables are changing. Smartwatches are becoming cheaper and more accessible – and long gone are the days where key complaints were a lack of features.

Below, we've assembled key stats, studies and analysis of the smartwatch and fitness tracker market – both in terms of shipments and market share, but also key surveys on how consumers feel about wearable devices.

How people use smartwatches

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  • Health and fitness still overwhelmingly popular use cases
  • 2/3 buyers bought smartwatch in last 12 months
  • 50% first time owners
  • 6% of owners don’t intend to replace device
  • 89% use smartwatch every day or most days

Most popular wearable tech use cases

  • Casual fitness tracking – 61%
  • Checking notifications – 59%
  • Health and wellbeing monitoring – 57%
  • Alarms and reminders – 52%
  • Timer or Stopwatch – 40%
  • Listening to or controlling music – 32%
  • Using the voice assistant – 29%
  • Payments – 25%
  • Controlling smart home device – 20%

Health features checked every day

  • 69% – Steps
  • 62% – Calories burned
  • 52% – Activity or sports data

Smartwatch improvements wish list

  • 51% – longer battery life
  • 22% – Improved health and fitness tracking
  • 21% – better design
  • 6% – More apps

Reasons to buy

  • 56% – interested in features
  • 24% – access to specific fitness features
  • 24% – I needed a new watch

Reasons people have upgraded

  • 41% – I wanted to change
  • 36% – longer battery life
  • 35% – latest health tracking features

Source: CCS Insight (August 2021)

Shipments year-on-year with future forecasts

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  • Smartwatches haven’t swallowed fitness trackers
  • Both in both sectors
  • Smartwatches are on track to double fitness tracker sales though.
Fitness trackers Smartwatches Total
2016 52m 37m 89m
2017 40m 51m 91m
2018 44m 74m 118m
2019 61m 97m 158m
2020 78m 115m 193m
2021* 90m 142m 232m
2022* 101m 173m 273m

*Projected | Source: CCS Insight (August 2021)

Buying smartwatches

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Smartwatch retention

  • Only 2% watch owners don’t use device anymore
  • 90% use watch most/every day
  • Consistent across all brands.
  • 75% use sports or activity tracking every day (90% Fitbit)

Smartwatch satisfaction

  • 59% highly satisfied with features used
  • 37% somewhat satisfied
  • 45% satisfied with battery life – one of the lowest (most requested improvement)

Replacing smartwatches

Most users expect to replace smartwatches within two years – just like smartphones

  • 66% – within 2 years
  • 27% – In more than 2 years
  • 7% – I don’t think I will replace it ever

Non-smartwatch owners:

38% of non-smartwatch owners have considered buying one – huge number of potential customers.

Reasons for not buying a smartwatch

  • 49% – too expensive
  • 37% – wait until they’re cheaper
  • 16% – wait until they become better

Source: CCS Insight | Topic: Webinar: Smartwatch End-User Survey of 4,000 US and UK (Feb 2020)

Top 5 wearable companies market share

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  • Apple market share is down YoY
  • Shipments up 9.3% though
  • Indian boAT wearables storm into top 5 globally.
  • Big majority of wearable sales still cost under $200
Shipments Q2 2021 share Change
Apple 32.2m 28.2% +9.2% YoY
Xiaomi 14.0m
12.3% +37.8%
Huawei 11.7m 10.2% +38.5%
Samsung 9.7m 8.5%
+37.4%
Image Marketing (boAT) 4.6m 4.1% +478% YoY
Others 41.9m 36.7% +38.2% YoY

Source: IDC (August 25 2021)

Smartwatch OS market share 2021

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2018 2019 2020 2021
watchOS 26.4% 26.3% 30.3% 33.5%
Tizen 5.5% 9.3% 8.5% 8.0%
Huawei - - 7% 6.7%
Amazfit - - 5.8% 4.2%
Wear OS 2.9% 3.2% 4.4% 3.9%
Fitbit 2.8% 4.2% 2.7% 3.7%

Source: Counterpoint Research (May 2021)

Indian wearables market share - Q2 2021

  • 1. Nexxbase (Noise) 28.6% 25.5% 538.4%
  • 2. Imagine Marketing (BoAt) 26.9% - -
  • 3. Huami (Amazfit) 9.3% 25.1% 110.9%
  • 4. Fire-Boltt 5.5% - -
  • 5. Realme 4.7% 21.3% 24.7%

Source: IDC (Aug 2021)

AR, VR and mixed reality market share

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  • 2021: $30.7 billion
  • 2022: $58.7 billion
  • 2023: $124.4 billion
  • 2024: $296.9 billion

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