Are Consumers Signaling Renewed Interest in Smart Watches? - eMarketer

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Are Consumers Signaling Renewed Interest in Smart Watches?

Smart watch ownership has grown

May 3, 2017 | Mobile

Consumer interest in wearables may be rebounding.

During its first-quarter earnings call, Apple reported that its Apple watch sales doubled year-over-year. “We have seen the watches as a really key product category for us since before we launched it,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the call. “We took our time to get it right, and we’re proud of the growth of the businesses.”

According to Cook, this growth is “phenomenal” particularly since they’re looking at sales performance in a non-holiday quarter.

Ownership of smart watches has grown in 2016 compared to a year prior.

According to data from PlumChoice and Z-Wave Alliance, smart watch ownership grew 9 percentage points from 2015 to 2016—from 3% to 12%.

Smart-Home Devices Owned by US Internet Users, 2015 & 2016 (% of respondents)

Fitness bands also grew from 12% to 22%.

That’s interesting given the current shaky state of the wearables market. Fitbit in January warned that it expected 2017 revenue would fall well short of 2016 levels. Companies like Microsoft or Jawbone, have stopped production of their devices. (Fitbit is scheduled to release Q1 earnings on Wednesday.)

In late 2016, amid a variety of signs that the initial flare of consumer interest had subsided, eMarketer significantly revised its estimates of wearable usage downward. According to those estimates, only around one in five US adults—54.9—will use a wearable device on a monthly basis by 2020.

“While Apple’s year-over-year growth is encouraging, its smart watch is still not the magical device that the smart watch market needed to take off,” said eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle.

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