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Hybrid smartwatches shipments expected to soar by 460%

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Slower growth for digital display smartwatches has caused several manufacturers to leave the space.
Slower growth for digital display smartwatches has caused several manufacturers to leave the space.

Hybrid smartwatches will make up over 50% of the smartwatches market in 2022, making up a total of nearly 80 million of overall smartwatches to be shipped by 2022.

This is according to a Juniper Research report titled Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2018-2022. The report found that shipment of hybrid smartwatches such as Fossil Q and Nokia Steel will indicate an increase of 460% by 2020, up from an estimated 14 million in 2017. However, digital display smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit Ionic, according to Juniper, will increase by a mere 160%.

"The smartwatch market is refining itself into a series of specific use-cases", explains research author James Moar.

"This is having an impact on every aspect of smartwatches, from their design for increasingly specialised uses to their sale in specific retailers. While most vendors cannot necessarily hope to reach a broad coverage, the industry as a whole is here to stay."

Despite the renewed interest in hybrids, Juniper expects individual players to produce few smartwatches, with hybrid watch manufacturers generally shipping less than 2 million devices annually. Fossil, having released many display and hybrid smartwatches throughout its portfolio, is the exception here, and is forecast to ship over 6 million smartwatches annually by 2020.

Slower growth for digital display smartwatches has caused several manufacturers, like Motorola, Huawei and Sony, to leave the space. Those that remain are pivoting towards specific use cases, chief among them fitness, which Apple, Casio, Samsung and others have emphasised strongly in recent releases," notes the report.

The report also found that different connectivity technologies are becoming more prevalent in a variety of smartwatches, with GPS expected to be present in nearly 50% of all smartwatches by 2022.

A Gartner report found sales of global wearable devices will generate revenue of $30.5 billion in 2017; of that $9.3 billion will be from smartwatches.

"Smartwatches are on pace to achieve the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2021, reaching $17.4 billion," says Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

"The overall average selling price of the smartwatch category will drop from $223.25 in 2017 to $214.99 in 2021, as higher volumes lead to slight reductions in manufacturing and component costs, but strong brands such as Apple and Fossil will keep pricing consistent with price bands of traditional watches."

A Forrester research paper, titled The State of Wearables: 2017 To 2022, predicts that smartwatches will become the most popular wearable device among US consumers, increasing from 21% of all wearables sold in 2016 to 51% in 2022.

"Smartwatches will make up 51% of wearables sales in the US in 2022 while the general adoption of wearables will leap from $4.8 billion in 2016 to $9 billion in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate of 9%from 2017 to 2022," says Forrester.

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