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Apple Watch to remain leader as Android smartwatches only strong in China: IDC

Market intelligence firm IDC predicts that the Apple Watch will continue to dominate the smartwatch market as Android smartwatches only really sell well in China, and Samsung’s Tizen watches languish in fifth place …

IDC says that ear-worn smart devices will become increasingly important, but told CNET that Apple will remain largely unchallenged in smartwatches. Apple is expected to retain 25.9% of the market by 2023, only slightly down on the 27.4% share the firm estimated in March.

Asked why Apple will remain the industry leader in the smartwatch sector, the firm attributes it to the increasing demand for the companies [sic] products.

“Apple’s […] nearest competitors follow by a long margin,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Android also plays a big role here, but it’s mostly known as a Chinese wearables platform.”

Unsurprisingly, cellular models are expected to become increasingly popular.

Among all watches, close to half will have the ability to connect to a cellular network by 2023 as consumers along with enterprises and healthcare look to free the watch from the phone and as telcos push forward subsidies or financing options for watches with cellular service.

A recent reader survey found that almost a third of you think there’s a better than even chance that an Apple Watch could replace your iPhone within the next few years.

IDC believes that smart in-ear headphones – or ‘hearables’ – will expand into translation.

Smartwatches, as always, will still tell you the time, but will move deeper into health and fitness and connect with multiple applications and systems, both at work and within the home. Ear-worn devices, while still centered on providing audio, will nudge into other areas like language translation, smart assistant deployment, and coaching.

The wearable market as a whole is expected to see continued growth over the next four years.

The market for wearable devices is on track to reach global shipments of 222.9 million units in 2019, growing to 302.3 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%, according to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. Behind that growth is the propagation of smartwatches and ear-worn devices, which will account for more than 70% of all wearable shipments by 2023.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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