What technology to wear?
As you probably already know, my favorite professional activity is writing applications for wearables. We have January, so all sorts of statistics and summaries are welcome. I decided to look at the market of electronic devices that you can wear. I was induced by the independent Canalys and IDG reports published in 2019, analyzing this market. The reports of both analytical companies differ in the numbers given, but they have one thing in common – at first glance they have an enthusiastic tone – the wearables devices market, after a slight shortness of breath in 2018, increased by almost 100% year-on-year in 2019. However, it should be remembered that the wearables product category includes not only watches, fitness bands, etc. but also headphones – it is mainly their sales that generated such a significant increase. Smartwatches or fitness-bands are also growing – averaging about 40% year-over-year – but much less dynamically. Assuming averaged values from the reports of both analytical houses, in 2019, nearly 180 million wearables were sold on the global market. Of which 48% are headphones, 23% fitness-bands, 21% watches. 8% were products from the “other” category. The world leader in wearables sales is Apple – 35%, in second place Xiaomi – 14.6%, Samsung – third place – 9.8%, Huawei fourth – 8.4%, fifth Fibit – 4.1%, and other manufacturers are the remaining 28.1%.
From all this products I am interested in the most two categories: watches and fitness bands, as they are devices that allow the development of useful applications. Considering the sales structure, it is clear that the market for this type of equipment has matured. It has stable growth, which means that where it is justified, the application working on the user’s wrist should be included in the software production plan, as a valuable complement to the workflow or a possible channel to reach. From the programming side, the wearables market, in which it is worth investing, includes three main operating systems – watchOS (Apple), Tizen (Samsung) and WearOS (Google). While the position of the first two is stable with a clearly increasing trend (together they cover nearly 50% of the market), the situation with WearOS is puzzling. Google apparently has a serious problem with promoting its system – currently it is partly used by Huawei and Xiaomi, rarely Samsung. One of the largest manufacturers using the Google system is Fossil – not even included in Canalys and IDG reports. The WearOS situation is therefore uncertain. Will the recent acquisition of Fibit by Google change anything here? Time will tell.