Juniper Research: Apple dominated 2015 smart watch market

Samsung is unlikely to close the gap on Apple in the smart watch market until use of the devices becomes more standardised, Juniper Research predicted.

The research company said Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, with the Apple Watch accounting for at least 50 per cent of the 17.1 million units shipped in total during 2015. In contrast, Samsung -- Apple's major rival in the smartphone sector -- experienced a lull in smart watch shipments during 2015, as consumers apparently held off purchasing until the vendor launched its Gear S2 model in November.

In a white paper on the smart watch market, Juniper Research linked Apple's dominance to the high number of apps available for its smart watch platform. The vendor in September reported that 10,000 apps were available for the platform, compared to the 4,000 apps available on rival Android Wear as of May 2015.

Juniper Research tipped Samsung to stage something of a comeback in 2016 as sales of its Gear S2 begin to take hold. However, the research company expressed concern over the lack of apps and devices running Samsung's proprietary Tizen platform, noting that those deficiencies make it unlikely the South Korean vendor's smart watches will gain traction "until smart watch use becomes more standardised."

How long that standardisation will take remains to be seen. A related consumer study by Juniper Research found that 30 per cent of consumers are unlikely to purchase a wearable device in the next six months. The most common reason behind that reluctance is that people do not see a compelling use case for wearable devices.

Juniper Research said consumer apathy is having a knock-on effect on the price people are willing to pay for a wearable. At least 50 per cent of consumers not immediately interested in making a purchase said they would not pay more than $99 (€91.55) for a wearable device if they did buy one. Meanwhile, those who expressed interest in buying a wearable said they would not pay more than $175.30.

"The current price and limited functions are deterring those who might consider buying a wearable. Consumers buying the devices are probably doing so because they like technology, rather than for any other reason," Juniper Research stated in its white paper.

Apple, meanwhile, has come up with an innovative solution to extending the battery life of its Watch. The vendor is enabling users to pair multiple Watch products with their iPhone, meaning they can switch to a fresh wearable when the battery on the first runs out, the Guardian reported.

For more:
- see this Juniper Research announcement
- view this Guardian report

Related articles:
IDC: Global wearables shipments will exceed 200M in 2019
Berg Insight: Shipments of connected wearables will reach 228M in 2020
Gartner: Consumers in mature markets will own 3 to 4 devices by 2018
IDC: Worldwide wearables shipments jump 197.6% in Q3
Samsung, Motorola, others announce new smart watches, but only 13% are predicted to have cellular

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