Watches with simpler functions are seeing an increase in demand as interest in multifunction smart watches wanes.
Demand for smart analog or hybrid watches, those timepieces with traditional watch faces but offer some basic connected functions such as tracking steps and enabling NFC payments, is growing approximately twice as fast as that of multifunctional smart watches, a recent report by UK-based market intelligence firm Juniper Research revealed.
According to the study, entitled "Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2017-2021", at this rate, the category is poised to take in about two-fifths of the $21 billion smartwatch market in the next five years. Currently, watches with simpler functions account for 30 percent of the overall market.
The report also found out that in light of slowing demand for high-end multifunction smart watches, several manufacturers are refining or even removing unpopular functions, focusing instead on specific-use versions such as health and fitness.
Multifunction smart watches remain the strongest category but as initial interest wanes, the segment is currently undergoing consolidation. US-based Motorola and China tech firm Huawei, for instance, have withdrawn at the moment while startups Pebble and Vector have been acquired by tech giant Fitbit. The company, together with Apple and Samsung, is among the industry's leading players. Traditional watchmakers TAG Heuer and Fossil are likewise playing a vital role in the market.
But seeing no must-have features emerging in the multifunction smart watch line, Juniper has scaled back its estimates for market growth, predicting less than 60 million units will be shipped annually until 2021.
The whitepaper, entitled "Can Smartwatches Make Up for Lost Time?," can be downloaded the company's website. Additional details of the full research are available as well.