With some 370,000 smartwatches sold in 2014, Australians are warming to wearable computing with the market poised to exceed $400 million by 2018, according to new research from emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte.
“Watch jewellery is a mature market with around 40% (more than 7 million) of Australians (age 16 and above) wearing a watch almost every day,” Telsyte says.
“Notwithstanding the challenges, smartwatches have the potential to disrupt the traditional market as people consider wearable devices an extension to their smartphone and apps they use for fitness and communications.”
According to Telsyte’s Australian Smartphone & Wearable Devices Market Study 2015, the smartwatch market is expected to grow by at least 50% in 2015 due to the arrival of the Apple Watch.
Samsung, an early entrant in to the smartwatch market is the current market leader.
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi says smartwatches will become more appealing to consumers as new stylish and featured devices enter the market, with the 25 to 44 year-old age group representing the best sales opportunity in 2015.
“There is a lot of anticipation for the Apple smartwatch and our research indicates half of all smart fitness band users are looking to upgrade to a smartwatch, creating a potentially vibrant new product category,” Fadaghi says.
Telsyte research showed that over 800,000 smart wristbands such as those made by Fitbit and Garmin were sold in 2014.
As with smartphones, consumers consider ease of use, pricing and battery life the most important attributes of smartwatches. Many current smartwatches have been criticised for their short battery life and limited unique usage scenarios.
Telsyte’s research found the top three applications people want from a smartwatch are to (1) check the time and date (2) use it as an alarm clock or a reminder alert, and (3) read messages, including e-mail.