Smart wearables registered another year of strong retail volume growth as Australian consumers continued to embrace the trend for fitness tracking in 2019. Smart wearables offer a multitude of features in addition to fitness tracking however, with a wide range of apps and connectivity allowing consumers to perform daily tasks such as responding to messages, checking emails and making contactless payments.
Activity wearables recorded a stronger performance in retail volume terms in 2019 compared to the previous year, supported by ongoing demand for the larger category of activity watch (digital) in addition to the continually impressive performance recorded by activity watch (analogue), which entered Australia in 2017. Australians’ love of being outdoors and taking part in various sporting activities has helped to support their increasing interest in utilising various health-related apps, while appreciating the activity tracking features available in different formats, although some have particularly been interested in retaining a classical look by purchasing traditional watches with activity tracking features including Fossil, leading to the stronger volume growth for analogue.
With increasing interest in multifunctional device such as activity watches and smart wearables, demand for the more basic device of activity bands continued to decline in 2019. With activity bands only offering simple step counting for tracking activities such as running or walking, wearable electronics have continued to evolve to include a higher number of features other than activity tracking including seek modern designs, standard watch features, in addition to connectivity to mobile phones,.
Apple strengthened its leadership of wearable electronics in Australia in 2019, due to its dominance of smart wearables with its Apple Watch continuing to record strong retail volume growth despite losing some share to Fitbit. Apple launched its new Watch Series 4 towards the end of 2018, and while it continued to dominate the category, the emergence of Fitbit in smart wearables in 2018 could be of concern to the leader.
Garmin Australasia Pty Ltd retained its leadership of activity wearables in 2019, and despite recording positive retail volume growth, lost some ground to Fitbit. The latter appeared to be experiencing a late resurgence in this category after consistently losing sales and share over the review period in line with declining demand for activity band after the release of its Fitbit Inspire HR (with GPS) and Fitbit Charge 3, offering long battery life and waterproof capabilities.
In an increasingly intensive competitive landscape, producers of activity wearables need to offer some level of differentiation in order to attract consumers’ attention. Garmin announced its intention to target females, with the release of the Garmin Connect app, which allows women to track their menstrual cycles following the release of similar technology by Fitbit in 2018 with its in-app female health-tracking feature for its Versa and Fitbit Ionic models.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Electronics market research database.