Smartwatch valleys and peaks

Smartwatches are an important product category in their own right and also a barometer for a complete picture of the active breadth of technology ecosystems. Smartwatches, primarily from Apple or using the Android environment, form a sizable market share, in active use by one-ninth to one-fourth of online adults in the US, Germany, the UK, and Japan. Gen Z and millennial adults are leading their use. The Boomer/Silent generations have a small but quickly growing share. Looking ahead, purchase plans are not substantial, although they describe a reasonable replacement market.
This MetaFAQs reports on the market penetration of smartwatches, split by generational age group, Apple and Android, and country. Report [TUP_doc_2023_1218_wret] in TUP Lenses: Consumer Electronics; Technology Ecosystems; Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking

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UK tech buyers boost buying while China’s elites hang on

The global landscape has witnessed significant shifts in consumer purchasing behavior due to the impact of the pandemic and broader economic changes. This transformation extends to acquiring tech products such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and game consoles. With the rapid transition to remote work, many individuals proactively invested in personal computing devices to enhance their productivity rather than relying on their employers for equipment provision.

Conversely, individuals facing reduced working hours or economic uncertainty opted to postpone their tech purchases. On a global scale, the mean age of a technology user’s primary device has exhibited relative stability, averaging between 1.9 and 2.1 years old over the past five years. However, a closer examination reveals notable variations across different countries.

The affluent and highly educated among China’s population has consistently maintained access to the latest tech devices. Nevertheless, a recent delay in 2023 has cast uncertainty on their leading position, potentially aligning them with the global average in the near future. In contrast, consumers in the UK, who amidst Brexit and the pandemic deferred tech device purchases, have demonstrated a two-year consecutive uptick in acquisitions. Consequently, their average device age now ranks second among surveyed countries.

Meanwhile, online adults in Germany and Japan have displayed a penchant for holding onto their primary devices longer compared to their international counterparts. These nuanced trends offer valuable insights for technology marketers, researchers, analysts, and industry professionals seeking to navigate evolving consumer preferences and market dynamics.

This MetaFAQs reports on the mean age of the respondent’s primary device – a smartphone, computer, tablet, or game console – by country from 2018 through 2023. Report [TUP_doc_2023_1207_yeat] in TUP Lenses: Devices; PCs; Mobile Phones; Tablets

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Peak smartwatch? Time for a strategy shift

Smartwatches have quickly gained popularity, gracing the wrists of millions. These devices offer more than just timekeeping and fitness monitoring; they’ve evolved into personal assistants. Users value their multi-functionality, utilizing them for calendars, health metrics, reminders, and more. In addition, they’ve become a symbol of modern luxury. However, the latest wave of TUP confirms that the smartwatch market penetration seems to have reached a peak or plateau. Now, it’s largely about replacing older models rather than attracting first-time users. Therefore, manufacturers need to adapt their strategies, focusing less on expanding their user base and more on meeting the needs of existing customers.

These TUP tables report on the number and percentage of online adults regularly using a smartwatch such as an Apple Watch. They also include the number who are planning to purchase one within the coming 12 months.

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Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. It may not be used with a generative AI system without separate licensing and express written permission. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.