Smartwatch Sales Expected to Triple by 2020

But growth in the category is still slow

A forecast from the International Data Corp. (IDC) released this week predicts shipments of smartwatches will increase to 20.1 million units in 2016—which is a 3.9 percent increase over the 19.4 million units shipped in 2015.

The report also forecast that smartwatch sales will nearly triple by 2020, hitting 54.6 million units (valued at $17.8 billion). 

The bullish forecast is a complete turnaround from the second quarter forecast the IDC released, which reported a 32 percent decrease in smartwatch sales for the quarter. 

Many tech watchers, including TechRepublic, attribute the sagging sales mid-year to the absence of a new Apple Watch, which launched in 2015 and is still the best-selling smartwatch in the world. Apple Watch sales were down 55 percent during the second quarter of 2016. The Apple Watch Series 2 (pictured) was released last week.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel released data this week that showed during the three-month period ended July, the Apple Watch owned 33.5 percent of the U.S. smartwatch market. And in Europe’s biggest four markets—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—Apple’s smartwatch market share was 31.8 percent. Overall, the sector growth for smartwatches, according to the report, is slow. 

And Fortune notes that what Apple is dominating is still relatively small. Just 4.7 percent of Americans and 3.2 percent of those living in Europe’s four biggest markets currently own a smartwatch.

When you open that up to all wearable devices, those numbers climb: 15.2 percent of Americans and 8.1 percent of those living in Europe’s four major markets own a wearable device. Still, that’s still a relatively slim segment of humankind. 

(Photo courtesy of Apple)



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