Apple, Samsung Compete for Smartwatch Market

Industry officials said on Wednesday, Samsung Electronics, Apple, and other manufacturers are planning to simultaneously release their latest smartwatches on October 25 following the increased demand for wearable devices.

Dominant in the wearable device market is Apple, with its Apple Watch products. The U.S.-based company will release its newest edition Series 5, while domestic leader Samsung is projected to begin its sales of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 on the same day.

Since 2015 the wearable device market saw a boost in growth after Apple pioneered Apple Watch. Before that, smartwatches had only attracted a small number of tech-savvy users. Now the devices have been in a cycle of expansion with more healthcare and internet of things (IoT) features being added.

Industry tracker TrendForce reported in 2019 that the global sales volume for smartwatches is estimated to be 62.63 million and will make it to the 80.55 million mark by next year.

Around 45 percent of the whole market this year accounts for Apple Watch with estimated sales of 27.9 million.

The researcher predicts that the market will see swift growth as it is projected to break the hundred million mark with sales of 113 million in 2020.

Visually, the Apple Watch Series 5 is almost identical to its predecessor, but the most significant added feature of the latest model is the “always-on” display. While existing Apple Watch models have to be tapped on the screen or raised to wake up the device, the Series 5 always displays the time and other information.

The Series 5, with both cellular and GPS feature, will be priced at 659,000 won ($552) while the device with only the GPS feature will be priced lower at 539,000 won ($450).

According to market researcher Euromonitor, Samsung had the largest share of 43.4 percent in 2018, followed by Apple with 21.9 percent and LG Electronics with 10.3 percent. 

According to data by Euromonitor, Samsung took a 43.4 percent share in 2018, followed by Apple with 21.9 percent and LG Electronics with 10.3 percent. A 20 percent increase year-on-year with a sales volume here was estimated at 752,200 in 2018 and is expected to increase to 1.4 million in 2023.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 presents enhanced healthcare features such as exercise tracking and sleep tracking. It also has improved compatibility with both smartphones operating on Apple iOS and Google Android systems.

The tech giant already launched the Bluetooth version of the device, priced at between 299,200 won and 440,000 won, depending on material finish and size. However the LTE-supported version’s price hasn’t been officially announced by Samsung, the expected range is between 350,00 and 490,000 won.

Garmin, a U.S. wearable device maker, also plans to release two smartwatches ― the Venu and Vivoactive ― on the same day.

Industry officials expect that smart device makers seek a breakthrough in the slow smartphone market.

“Device manufacturers have now turned their attention to wearable devices in part because of the stagnating growth in the smartphone market. Besides smartwatches, the major hardware brands are also allocating more of their resources to the development of other categories of wearable devices with good demand potential, such as Bluetooth wireless earphones,” the TrendForce report said.

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