Nearly one in 10 people around the world now own a smartwatch with the strongest growth in the Asia Pacific region. However, for now, more premium brands like Apple and Samsung are missing out as lower cost options – often as cheap as $US20 flood the market, according to web research outfit Global Web Index (GWI).
The report follows on from this week’s news that Fitbit has launched a direct competitor – called Blaze – against the Apple smartwatch and for half the price.
According to its latest figures, GWI says smartwatch ownership is lower in many key developed markets like the UK (four per cent), Australia (six per cent), Canada (four per cent) and Japan (two per cent). Instead the global uptake is being driven largely by higher ownership rates in many Asian markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, China and India were the rate of ownership more typically exceeds 10 per cent.
“Despite being available for some time now, premium smartwatches from brands like Apple or Samsung are yet to find the same level of uptake,” the report noted.
Demographics are key to this says GWI. “While younger age groups are in the lead for smart watches, the strongest figures of all seen for 25-34s (a group with a developed interest in tech as well as the disposal income necessary to make purchases).
“In contrast, 16-24s might be at the absolute forefront of smartphone usage but many outside of APAC are finding themselves priced out of the smartwatch market. And while 45-64s were key to pushing tablets into the mainstream, they lag behind considerably when it comes to smartwatches.”
This demographic split poses challenges for the smartwatch market, according to the researchers. “So, with 16-24s remaining wedded to their smartphones and the 45+ group simply not yet interested in smartwatches, wearables face a real challenge.”