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Wearable Market Soaring, As OZ Consumers Take To Cheap Devices

The market for wearable technology is soaring and It’s not just the premium market that’s taking off in Australia.

According to Sydney based distributor Tempo, the value end of the market is also delivering big demand for smart watches with sales at the likes of Big W, Aldi and other value retailers soaring.

A Tempo spokesperson said “We recognised that there was a market for smartwatches that deliver the basics in a high-quality watch. Consumers want the time and be able to measure their heart rate and steps walked or run” they said.

“Link this to an app and consumers are happy” they said.

“We delivered a range from $39 through to sub $100 and we cannot keep up with demand”.

At the premium ends of the market brands such as Samsung and Apple are seeing growth accelerate, due in part to expanded portfolio’s and a slew of new products.

Market researcher IDC reported overnight that global unit volumes soared 95% to 84.5 million units.

That’s a massive spike compared to the 85% growth that the market registered in the second quarter.

Hearable — ear-worn wearable devices — continue to represent roughly half of the market, with wrist-worn devices like smartwatches being the next-biggest category.

Apple released their AirPods at end of the third quarter.

“Hearables have become the new go-to product for the wearables market,” IDC’s Ramon Llamas said.

“This began with multiple vendors removing the headphone jack from their smartphones, driving the move toward wireless headphones.”

Apple controversially killed the headphone jack in 2016 with the iPhone 7, catalysing the shift toward wireless headphones. Since then, other smartphone manufacturers have followed suit, and hearables pricing has come down and spurred demand. At the same time, the Apple Watch Series 3, first released in 2017, recently got a price cut following the launch of Series 5, which is helping Apple keep its lead.

Samsung’s sales of its Galaxy Buds remain strong and their smarty watches are in big demand.

Huawei has been able to overcome geopolitical headwinds by focusing its efforts on its home market of China.

Fitbit, which is in the process of being acquired by Alphabet subsidiary Google, already reported last month that its unit volumes were essentially flat while its net losses widened substantially.

The pending purchase “fills the brand’s future with uncertainty,” according to IDC.

The company’s Versa 2 smartwatch was launched at the tail end of the quarter, and it’s unclear to investors how that gadget is performing since Fitbit cancelled its earnings conference call due to the acquisition.

Ear-worn wearables are also enjoying the strongest growth by far, with that category posting incredible growth of 242% in the third quarter, according to IDC.

That’s not to say that the rest of the market is slacking: Smartwatches and wristbands grew 48% and 49%, respectively. With other tech juggernauts including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon jumping in with new truly wireless earphones, the hearables market is poised to keep soaring.

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