Smartwatch sales stomped by fitness bands in slowing market: Kantar

Consumers see smartwatches as expensive and useless, according to Kantar, with Apple taking more than 80 percent of the market.

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(Image: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech)

The perception of the smartwatch as an expensive and useless appendage to the smartphone has not yet been overcome, market research firm Kantar has said.

According to Kantar, 15 percent of US consumers possess a wearable, with only 4.7 percent of overall US consumers having a smartwatch. The numbers are lower in Europe's four largest economies (EU4) -- the UK, Germany, France, and Italy -- where only 3.2 percent of consumers own a smartwatch, and overall wearable penetration sits at 8 percent.

Apple unsurprisingly dominates the smartwatch sector, with the Cupertino hardware giant taking home 32 percent of all wearable sales in EU4, where the total smartwatch sales percentage came in at 38.6 percent. In the US, Apple has a third of the total wearables market.

Kantar said the new GPS and waterproofing of the Apple Watch Series 2, along with the upgraded Series 1 combined with a lower price point, could attract buyers still baulking at prices.

Last week, IDC projected global smartwatch shipments to hit 20 million units in 2016, up just 4 percent from 2015, with 50 million units to be sold per year by 2020.

Basic wearables -- which IDC defines as fitness trackers, wristbands, and clothing -- will hit 81 million units in 2016, up from 59 million in 2015.

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