Canalys: Smart bands are in decline while smartwatches are on the rise

Smartwatches can do things a smart band can do and more. It can also function as a notification panel and partly, a phone.

The Galaxy Watch4 series

The wearables market has always been a niche part of the electronics industry, however as more and more manufacturers are becoming open to them, more people have been realising their purpose as an alternative to phones. Smart bands are mainly used for people who love exercising and tracking their diet, their health and outdoor activities. While smartwatches are becoming more of a mix between phones and bands. They tend to be more expensive than smart bands because of their “phone-like” functions like checking messages and answering calls.

According to Canalys, wearable bands like the Mi Band series, have been in steady decline since the fourth quarter of 2020, and has since continued up to second quarter of 2021. However, this has been offset to excellent smartwatch sales. 37.9% of the wearables market has been covered by smartwatches alone. Shipments for them have reached an enormous 25.4 million.

Wearable band market share analysis, Q2 2021

We all know that Xiaomi is the top selling smartphone manufacturer, having toppled Samsung from the position, but did you know they are also the highest-selling wearables brand? The chart above combines both basic wearables and smartwatches. In the last two quarters of 2020, Xiaomi covered 20.1% of the market for wearable bands, all thanks to their affordable Mi Band series of smart bands. Coming in second is Apple and in third place is Huawei. Samsung also has a high year-on-year growth in this market, which is noticeably higher than their smartphone shares. Also one thing noticeable here, despite Huawei finishing third and has an impressive number of shipments, their market share declined by more than half annually.

Smartwatch, Q2 2021

Above is the chart for the smartwatches market. Here, Apple’s Apple Watch is still the top-selling smartwatch in the world. In the second quarter of 2021, they have reached a market share of around 31% and has been growing healthily as time passes. Again, despite Huawei placing high up in this list, they are seeing a steady decline thanks to them being barred from buying parts from the West. Samsung has also a large YoY growth thanks to their new Galaxy Watches now being part of Google Wear, which is Android for smartwatches. Xiaomi, while placed the lowest in this list and having little market share in contrast to its competitors, is rapidly growing in this segment too, in a similar pattern with their smartphones, they have shipped more than 1 million smartwatches as opposed to Q2 2020 and has a steady and outlandishly large 272.6% YoY growth.

According to Canalys, vendors can make their smartwatches stand out by implementing more health and fitness features into them as well as improving the user experience.

“Vendors are attempting to make a big generational leap in smartwatch technologies. To stand out, they are improving the fundamentals, such as user experience and battery life, creating their own distinct UIs and leveraging their respective ecosystems to draw out new and unique use cases,” said Canalys Research Manager Jason Low. “But health tracking is the most prominent use case for smartwatches. The ability to deliver cutting-edge health-tracking features and to offer users meaningful data and actionable health insights will set winners and losers apart.”  

To read the entire report, please head over at Canalys