Basic Smartwatches Rescue Wearables Market in 2023

Smartwatches with advanced capabilities experienced a difficult market in 2022, and sales will grow very slowly in 2023. But in India basic smartwatches have taken off and will help the overall wearables market see growth. These are the main findings from our latest wearables market forecast, covering 2023 to 2027.

In 2023 184 million smartwatches are expected to be sold, up 16% from 2022. Almost all of this increase will come from India, where demand is expected to grow by 75%. This regional growth is being fuelled by the increased availability and popularity of basic devices, generally priced between $30 and $70.

Three Indian companies — boAt, Fire-Boltt and Noise — have made a success of Indian consumers’ love for smartwatch technology, creating an explosion of demand in their domestic market. In contrast, smartwatch sales in the country were negligible only three years ago.

The recipe for success among Indian smartwatch makers appears quite obvious: combining good-enough features with an affordable price. And the impact of the “Make in India” initiative shouldn’t be underestimated either. The next step for these companies will be international expansion over the next few years, to try and replicate some of this success in other markets where cost-conscious consumers could be tempted by affordable smartwatches.

We forecast global sales of basic smartwatches to reach 118 million units in 2027, accounting for one-third of the 353 million total smartwatches expected to be shipped that year.

Advanced smartwatches from companies like Apple, Google, Garmin and Samsung continue to dominate the market, despite their sales in units declining by 7% in 2022. Sales are now expected to remain almost flat in 2023 at 107 million units. The main difficulty for this segment, concentrated in technologically advanced markets, comes from the increased prices of everyday essentials. The cost-of-living crisis is expected to maintain pressure on consumers in 2023, leading to many delaying purchases of treats like smartwatches with a price tag of a few hundred dollars, euros or pounds. But, in those markets, smartwatches have already established themselves as an important consumer electronics category; as pressure on household income eases, adoption from first-time users and demand for new models as replacements will return to growth.

After a weak 2023, the outlook for the advanced smartwatch segments will improve from 2024, and basic smartwatches will create a further opportunity for low-cost device manufacturers.

Advanced smartwatches are forecast to reach over 200 million units shipped in 2027, almost double that of 2022. Although they will account for just under 60% of global smartwatch unit sales in 2027, their dollar value contribution will account for 88% of the $44 billion the market will be worth then.

Smartwatches dedicated to children and senior citizens are projected to remain a firm but small part of the global market, mostly concentrated in China. However, should mobile operators in other markets decide to emphasize on this category and come up with new, fresh ways of marketing these devices, more potential can be unearthed.

A summary of the global market forecast for smartwatches is shown below:

For more information about the forecast or our wearables service, please contact us.