A new report by industry analyst firm Canalys projects that wearable band shipments will grow 129% year on year to reach 43.2 million units in 2015, of which 28.2 million will be smart bands and 15.0 million will be basic bands, all driven by Apple.
According to Canalys Apple will be the biggest driver behind wearable band shipments in 2015 with its entry into the market with Apple Watch.
‘By creating a new user interface tailored to its tiny display, Apple has produced a smart watch that mass-market consumers will actually want to wear,’ said Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte. ‘The sleek software, variety of designs and reasonable entry price make for a compelling new product. Apple must still prove, however, that the final product will deliver adequate battery life for consumers.’
The Apple Watch provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom, and navigate and will enable users to SMS, Email or call their friends and as well follow their health with comprehensive health and fitness apps. Coming in three distinct collections — Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition, the watch will be available in early 2015.
Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want a smart band, justifiably demanding compelling use cases. Hoping to address these concerns with its new wearable, Apple has demonstrated a variety of use cases across health and fitness, personal communication and other areas, including mapping for walking navigation, workout and activity tracking and mobile payments. Meanwhile, low-cost Chinese vendors are increasingly playing a role in the market for wearable bands. Xiaomi has attempted to dramatically lower the price of basic bands with its Mi Band. Android Wear is growing a viable ecosystem, though it cannot be used in China. Google must greatly improve its wearable platform over the coming years to better compete with Apple’s new offering. Long-term, wearable bands from all vendors must provide clear value to consumers beyond the existing capabilities of smart phones in order to justify the purchase of an additional device.
‘The basic band vendors, such as Fitbit and Jawbone, will enjoy the advantages of their lower pricing for the immediate future,’ according to Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. ‘Eventually, however, stronger smart band competitors to the Apple Watch will likely emerge and push smart band pricing down, threatening the basic bands. This market will undergo disruption similar to that suffered by feature phones when smart phone prices fell.’