Smart watch shipments reached 107 million units in 2021, surpassing the shipments of smart bands for the first time. Smart bands declined in 2021 with only 70.33 million units delivered. As branded manufacturers strengthen their investment in the smart watch market, market growth has accelerated. Due to the proximity of functional applications, the smart band market has been gradually supplanted by low-cost smart watch products. Therefore, driven by new products in 2022, the current forecast indicates that smart watch shipments will continue to grow in 2022, reaching 119 million units, for an annual growth rate of 11.4%. Smart band shipments are expected to decline to 55.18 million units and the gap between the two continues to widen. It is worth noting, although branded manufacturers are optimistic regarding the development of the smart watch market, in light of risks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, war, and inflation, continuing downward revisions of smart watch shipment volume in 2022 cannot be ruled out and annual growth rate may even fall below 5%.
The top five major manufacturers of smart watches are Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Garmin with a combined market share of 63%. Apple Watch shipments reached 36.6 million units in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 20%. Apple is optimistic regarding the market in 2022. On the one hand, the company believes that the Watch Series 8 can maintain the same consumer interest as the Watch Series 7. On the other hand, a wave of entry-level product replacements is expected with the launch of the second-generation Watch SE. Coupled with the launch of new Pro products, Apple believes that market demand in 2022 will surpass that in 2021 and shipment volume is expected to reach 43 million to 46 million units.
However, considering the negative economic impacts following the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, 4Q22 holiday sales may not pan out as expected. Throwing in the wildcard of China’s lockdown strategy, production of new Apple Watches may be affected if lockdown measures reappear in 2H22, which will lead to a risk of further delays in shipments of new products, upsetting shipments in 2022. Therefore, shipments of Apple Watches are conservatively forecast to reach 39.1 million units in 2022.
Although Samsung began exploring the wearable device market very early, due to the small market size and the rapid growth of the smartphone market, smart watches were not the focus of Samsung’s product development at the time. This was true up until recent years. As the growth of smartphones slowed, Samsung has once again strengthened its distribution of other consumer electronics products which has led to continuous growth in Samsung Galaxy Watch shipments. In addition, since Huawei has been flattened by Sino-US trade friction, Samsung leaped to claim the number two spot in the smart watch market in 2021. Samsung smartwatch shipments are estimated to grow from 11.09 million in 2021 to 14.1 million units in 2022.
After Google officially acquired Fitbit, although Fitbit remains nominally an independent brand, internal reorganization is bound to be carried out considering this affords more efficient resource allocation, integrating the companies’ procurement, product development, etc. Google will have two smart watch brands, Fitbit and Pixel. In terms of high-end watches, the Pixel Watch is a flagship product positioned as an extension of the Pixel mobile phone and is primarily used in synergy with smart phone functionality. Therefore, the Pixel Watch uses the Samsung Exynos chip and it is expected to highlight the features of various apps in the Google Play Store. Since Fitbit was acquired by Google, it has become necessary to adjust unified strategy and integrate and reorganize resources. Although smart watch shipments resumed growth in 2021, there is some distance between leading brands. Fitbit Is expected to launch new products in 2H22. Google Pixel Watch is also expected to be launched in 2H22, so Google/Fitbit smart watch shipments are estimated to grow to 3.65 million units in 2022.
Apple is set to unveil the successors to its current device lineups at this year’s fall product launch on September 14. Please see below for some of TrendForce‘s latest data pertaining to the global consumer electronics market:
Although the tight supply of certain components due to complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic remains Apple’s primary production-related challenge, iPhone production will unlikely be drastically affected. Total iPhone production for 2021 is expected to reach 229.5 million units, a 15.6% YoY increase, with the upcoming iPhone 13 models accounting for about 37%-39% of Apple’s annual iPhone production. In addition, iPhones are also expected to account for about 77% of total annual production of 5G smartphones in 2021, making them the market leader in this segment and representing a drastic increase from 39% in 2020.
Regarding technical specifications, the Pro model of iPhone 13 is expected to include 1TB storage capacity as an optional upgrade. Other improvements over previous models include the adoption of A15 processors manufactured with TSMC’s 5nm+ process technology. All four iPhone 13 models will feature flexible AMOLED + On-cell designs for their display panels, while the Pro series will also feature a 120Hz refresh rate as well as LTPO technology for reduced power consumption. Furthermore, all four models’ primary cameras will be equipped with sensor shift image stabilization. The Pro model, in particular, will have its ultra-wide camera upgraded to a 6P lens, with the addition of autofocus capability as well. Much like the iPhone 12, LiDAR functionality is available only for the Pro model of the iPhone 13 lineup.
In view of the lackluster sales performances of the iPhone 12 mini, which reached EOL ahead of time, the iPhone 13 mini is expected to account for less than 10% of total iPhone 13 production, since Apple will focus its sales efforts on the other three models. TrendForce indicates that the global economy, markets, and personal incomes are all still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also led to price hikes for electronic components and transportation services, thereby compounding Apple’s difficulties in setting retail prices for the new iPhone models. TrendForce expects Apple to continue the aggressive pricing strategy that it adopted for last year’s models in order to attract smartphone buyers, raise its revenue from services via increased handset sales, and make up for the aggressive prices via increased service revenue.