Wearable devices aren't catching on with consumers, a new report suggests. Even new products in that category that were introduced this year have achieved little to help increase demand for such gadgets.
This despite an earlier report saying the wearables market will double by 2021, as Tech Times previously reported.
There was a time where people owned several devices to access different features: they owned an iPod for music and video playback; a "dumb" phone for calls and messaging; a handheld console for gaming; a standalone camera for taking photos; and a laptop for internet browsing, sending emails, accessing documents, and such. People don't have to carry around all these anymore — they can pretty much do everything on their smartphone nowadays.
But still, the smartphone started out as a niche product. When the iPhone was first announced, some critics thought it was a luxury item and that it wouldn't catch on. Years and years later, the phone has increasingly become something people simply can't live without. Will smartwatches and other wearables tread the same path? Are they niche items now and will become necessities later? Analysts at eMarketer looked at the latest sales trends for wearables. They're not too confident they'll catch on like smartphones have.
Wearables Market Forecast Looks Bleak
According to eMarketer's data, the number of adults in the United States using a wearable device reached 44.7 million in 2017, but most of these were fitness trackers, not smartwatches. That number will push past 50 million next year, but growth is expected to stay in the single digits over the next several years.
Back when wearables were still new, analysts projected big growth year after year, but the market looks significantly different now. Why? Well, one can argue that unlike smartphones, smartwatches haven't really evolved to become a necessity. For people who already have smartphones, there's simply no compelling need to own a smartwatch, especially ones that cost $300 and up. Why would they buy one, anyway? Anything a smartwatch can offer the smartphone already does — and better.
"Consumers have yet to find a reason to justify the cost of a smartwatch, which can sometimes cost as much as a smartphone," said Cindy Liu, a forecasting analyst at eMarketer.
"We really haven't seen a wearable device become the next must-have item. Until then, growth will remain conservative."
So, until a wearable company comes up with a wearable device that's so unique, novel, and revolutionary that everybody simply must have one, the market is going to remain lackluster.