U.S. Smartwatch Sales See Strong Gains, According to New NPD Report

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Market leaders dominate sales, with the top three brands representing 88 percent of unit share.

The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device.

U.S. smartwatch sales experienced strong growth in the 12 months ending November 2018 compared to the same timeframe a year prior, according to The NPD Group's new Smartwatch Total Market Report. Dollar sales of smartwatches in the U.S. were up 51 percent, totaling nearly $5 billion in sales, while unit sales saw a 61 percent increase.

While Apple is the clear market leader, the new Smartwatch Total Market Report reveals that the top three brands (Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit) made up 88 percent of smartwatch unit sales during the timeframe. However, traditional watch manufacturers, like Fossil, and fitness-focused brands, like Garmin, are working to grow their share of the market, as they continue to expand into the smartwatch category.

“Over the last 18 months smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn’t think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon,” said Weston Henderek, Director, industry analyst for NPD Connected Intelligence. “The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device including receiving notifications, messaging, accessing smart home controls, and more.”

16 percent of U.S. adults now own a smartwatch, which is up from 12 percent in December of 2017, based on NPD’s Consumers and Wearables Report. The younger 18-34 age demographic is currently carrying the overall growth in the smartwatch market with 23 percent penetration. However, as newer health focused devices such as the Apple Watch Series 4 continue to take hold in the next year, expect to see a big boost in penetration among older segments. Beyond health and fitness tracking, evolving use cases will help bolster the segment. For example, 15 percent of smartwatch owners now claim to use their devices to control home automation devices.

Methodology
The Smartwatch Total Market Report combines NPD’s Retailer Tracking Service point-of-sale data from the Luxury, Sports, and Tech practices, Checkout E-commerce data, and estimated sales to achieve a total market view.                            

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, travel retail, games, and watches/jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

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Megan Scott
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