An anticipated gold rush for smartwatches has fallen well short of expectations, according to analysis by First Insight.
When Apple Watch launched in 2014, NextMarket Insights forecasted the market to grow from 15 million in 2014 to 373 million by 2020, while a Business Insider article foresaw smartwatches leading wearable computing to mass market status.
The tech industry and traditional watchmakers – some acting defensively, others aggressively chasing new markets – invested heavily in smart and connected development.
According to SmartWatch Group, 89 companies from 18 countries sold smartwatches in 2014, with another 140 entering the market in 2015.
However, two years on from the launch of Apple’s first Watch, expectations are fading that this first phase of smartwatch development will ignite.
Tech analyst Gartner once thought that 80 million smartwatches would be sold worldwide in 2016. This has now been adjusted to around 50 million. Looking to the future, Gartner previously said smartwatch shipments would reach 150 million in 2017. This has now been lowered to just 67 million.
Even that could prove optimistic. A recent report by IDC found that smartwatch shipments declined for the first time in the second quarter of 2016 – and they’re sliding rapidly.
In fact, the worldwide smartwatch market saw a 32% year-over-year drop in the second quarter, which was led by Apple with a 55% decline, IDC believes.