Seasonal Gifts Boost Wearable Device Sales in Fourth-Quarter Leap

Ten percentage point rise in consumer awareness of smartwatches as Apple Watch takes the market by storm

One third of wearables currently in use were received as gifts

London, 27 October 2015: New research published by technology analyst firm CCS Insight highlights that the past 12 months have been a bumper period for the wearables market thanks to improved products and heightened awareness of wearable products, particularly smartwatches. However, wearables are still far from being mass-appeal devices; many owners quickly abandon their new gadgets after forgetting to wear them, finding they don’t provide any real benefits or simply getting bored of them.

These findings come from the CCS Insight’s third annual wearables user survey of 3,000 consumers in the UK, the US and China. The survey investigated consumer perceptions of wearable technology including usage patterns, awareness and current ownership.

Awareness levels reached a new high for smartwatches in 2015, with 90 percent of people interviewed having heard of smartwatches, up from 80 percent in 2014. Awareness of the Apple Watch was two and a half times higher than rival products, underlining Apple’s market-making role in smartwatches. Other brands that achieved high awareness levels were Fitbit and Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. Fitbit’s awareness level tripled over the year and over half of US respondents who had heard of fitness trackers were aware of Fitbit. Xiaomi has been taking the Chinese market by storm with its ultralow-priced $15 fitness band: two-thirds of Chinese respondents who had heard of fitness trackers were aware of the Xiaomi Mi Band.

The survey also revealed that a fifth of people intending to buy a smartwatch planned to replace their existing timepiece. This is a clear warning sign for traditional watch manufacturers.

George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight, said “The buzz created by the Apple Watch has raised awareness levels to a point where traditional watchmakers can no longer ignore the threat. With the wearables market set to be worth $25 billion by 2019 and a decline in traditional watch sales, it is little surprise that watchmakers such as Alpina, Frederique Constant, Fossil, Guess and TAG Heuer have started adding smartwatches to their portfolios.”

CCS Insight’s survey found that 35 percent of fitness bands had been received as gifts in the UK and the US. As smartwatches and fitness trackers are set to deliver more than $12 billion of sales in 2015, gift-giving will account for a significant proportion. Gift purchases will be fuelled by retail events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Chinese Singles Day, and the usual Christmas retail frenzy.

Jijiashvili notes, “We expect lots of people to end up with fitness trackers and other wearables in their Christmas stockings; for some gadget-lovers, they’ll be the perfect gift”. However, not everyone will appreciate them, Jijiashvili warns. “When someone receives a wearable as a gift they’re not as committed to the device as someone who’s spent their own money on one. We believe there’s a link between gift-giving and people losing interest and abandoning a wearable after just a few weeks or months of use”.

The CCS Insight survey found that nearly 20 percent of fitness band and smartwatch owners who stopped using their device said it failed to provide any benefits or that they became bored of it. Jijiashvili notes, “Manufacturers need to overcome this by making their devices indispensable. Successful examples of this include turning fitness tracking into a game by introducing challenges that need to be achieved and competitions between users. Manufacturers must also make their devices easy to use and provide them with a well-designed companion smartphone app”.

Notes to editors

  • CCS Insight is a leading provider of wearables-related research, having pioneered analysis of wearable device trends.
  • The company’s latest wearables forecast indicates 84 million wearables devices will be shipped globally in 2015, increasing to 245 million units in 2019. More details of the forecast can be found at:

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global analyst company focussing on mobile communications and the Internet. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world.

For further information contact:
Sarah Wilson
Harvard PR
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7861 3933

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