App-enabled smart watch shipments to reach 36 million by 2018

New findings from hi-tech analysts Juniper Research reveal that app-enabled smart watch shipments will reach 36 million per annum by 2018, compared to just over 1 million this year.

The new report found that shipments of smart watches will be driven by a new Multi-function segment capable of performing an array of additional functionalities such as tracking fitness and sports activities, payments or ticketing compared to the more limited Dashboard/Console segment. The Multi-function segment will be propelled by the emergence of players such as Apple and Samsung.

Juniper’s latest report, ‘Next Generation Smart Watches: Market Prospects 2013-2018’ contends that the entrance of Apple and Samsung into this sector – as suggested by recent trademarks and patents – will help to validate the category and act as a catalyst for other competitors to enter the space.

Report author Nitin Bhas stated: “By educating and publicising this device segment to the consumer, Apple and Samsung will indeed act as a catalyst to the market. In addition, being a key influencer, these player’s entry into the smart watch segment will benefit existing smart watch players – providing an increase in awareness and adoption of other wearable devices”.

The report noted however that both smart watch categories – Dashboard/Console and Multi-function – will only appeal to a niche demographic when compared to tablet and smartphone for example and hence the market potential will be comparatively limited.

The report defines Multi-function Smart Watches as premium products, thereby differentiating them from existing products such as the Pebble and the Sony Smart Watch. This is expected to result in a multiple price band category similar to the current smartphone market. This means that while the average retail cost for Dashboard/Console smart watches will decline over the forecast period, pricing for the Multi-function devices will remain almost constant.

The report said this would result in significant opportunities arising for app developers – across the health, fitness, sports and communications segments. App-enabled mobile wireless accessory shipments would also increase, approaching 170 million by 2018.

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