Wearables market set for shaky period as economic downturn slows sales

Analyst firm CCS Insight provide an updated view on the future of wearable sales
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The wearables market is expected to experience turbulence as a result of the global economic downturn.

That's according to the latest market forecast published by industry analysts CCS Insight, indicating that overall sales of smartwatches and fitness trackers are set to fall from 232 million shipments in 2021 to 215 million in 2022.

It would represent the first time the market will have suffered a year-on-year decline, if the firm's projections prove accurate, though it is expected to return to growth in 2024 and balloon to 336 million units shipped in 2026.

"The effects of inflation and squeezed budgets have taken a toll on the wearables market throughout 2022 so far", says James Manning Smith, a senior analyst at CCS Insight.

"With economic difficulties expected to persist in the final quarter of the year, typically the strongest period for wearables sales, even the holiday season is expected to deliver weak demand for wearables".

Wearables market set for shaky period as economic downturn slows sales

Interestingly, though the report suggests that the drop in overall sales figures will slow the number of people upgrading their existing products, the overall number of users will still continue to grow, thanks to new product launches.

"The imminent launch of Google's Pixel Watch is a development we are watching closely, with the company's investment in smartwatch hardware signaling a renewed commitment to wearables", Manning Smith says.

"We expect the Pixel Watch launch to promote additional investment in smartwatches powered by Google's Wear OS, which should drive adoption from Android smartphone users".

Just how much the global economic situation truly does affect the sales of wearables over the next 12 - 18 months remains to be seen, naturally.

However, at this stage, it's difficult to see any area of consumer technology - including wearables - staving off slowed growth, so the forecasting here isn't any great surprise.

The fact that a relatively rapid recovery is predicted by CCS Insight, at least, shows that the market is still in a solid position - and should remain so, with the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung continuing to innovate and invest.

TAGGED Wearables

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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