In spite of the economic shock of the pandemic, the rate of growth in retail current value sales of wearable electronics accelerated slightly during 2020. The fact that lifestyle diseases like obesity and hypertension put people at higher risk of developing complications if they contracted COVID-19 drove increased consumer interest in health monitoring – one of the key functions of many wearable electronics devices.
Apple and Samsung dominate smart wearables: Both increased their retail volume share during the latter part of the review period and will account for just over half of retail volume sales between them in 2021. As smart wearables are usually paired with smartphones, many purchases of Apple and Samsung smart wearables already own an iPhone or a Galaxy.
Facing a growing threat to demand for their products, a growing number of established watchmakers, even luxury brands, are launching their own smart wearables. For example, Tissot launched Tissot T Touch Connect Solar in 2020.
Wearable electronics will continue to gain popularity in line with the trend towards busier and more connected lifestyles in France. Appreciation for the health and wellness functionality of these products will remain a key driver of demand, particularly in light of population ageing, the growing participation of French consumers in sports and fitness activities and increased health consciousness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Retail current value sales of wearable electronics will continue to slow throughout the forecast period, as demand steadily matures. Smart wearables will remain the main driver of this growth, cannibalising activity wearables – particularly activity bands, retail current value sales of which will decline at an accelerating rate.
Wearable electronics are particularly well suited to e-commerce due to their small size and light weight, and this channel will account for more a third of retail volume sales of these devices during 2021. With French consumers increasingly comfortable shopping online due to the broad range of products on offer and competitive pricing, e-commerce will continue to grow in importance as a distribution channel during the forecast period at the expense of electronics and appliance specialist retailers (still the leading distribution channel for wearable electronics) and other non-grocery specialists, such as jewellery retailers.
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This report originates from Passport, our Wearable Electronics research and analysis database.
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