IDC Forecasts Hearables will gain Ground in the Wearables Market by 2023 while Canalys Creates a False Category to Favor Xiaomi
Apple clearly dominates the wearables market at present and have for some time. Two of our recent reports on wearables have covered the "Hearbles" sector, (01 & 02), another covered smartwatches where Apple Watch dominates, and lastly, we covered IDC's first report on wearables for Q3 just last week.
IDC's latest report published today provides us with a wearable's forecast through to 2023 as seen in their chart below. Their forecast projects that the Hearables market will pull further ahead of the smartwatch segment.
Hearables: Accounting for the majority of shipment volumes throughout our forecast is earwear, (that Counterpoint refers to as "Hearables") which is set to reach 139.4 million units this year and nearly double to 273.7 million units in 2023.
Smartwatches: The second largest wearables segment is smartwatches where 69.3 million will ship in 2019 and total volumes will reach 109.2 million units worldwide in 2023.
IDC further forecasts that "Apple's watchOS will remain in front throughout our forecast by a wide margin and function as the measuring stick against which all other smartwatch platforms are compared.
Still, there is room for other platforms to grow: Android will have a strong following with kid-focused smartwatches; Samsung's Tizen will cater to Samsung smartphone owners with features rivaling watchOS; and Google's WearOS will benefit from having the longest list of hardware partners and the addition of Fitbit OS's health and fitness capabilities" should that acquisition get the greenlight from the government.
Lastly, IDC's report touches on Wristbands that are forecast to experience slower growth (6.7% CAGR) compared to the rest of the market but will maintain a steady presence throughout our forecast.
Weaponizing Analytical Reports
At times it appears that analytical companies have a clear bias. Whether that bias is another form of pay-for-advertising within a report is unknown at this time.
In 2018 Patently Apple pointed out this carefully crafted type of analytical report that skews data. Our report was titled "Gartner Skews PC Shipments Data to Make Surface Tablets Count as a PC while Shunning iPads" of any kind.
In a report posted last week titled "In Q3 Apple's iPad Shipments and Market Share grew in the market covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)." IDC's report was bent on putting Microsoft in the same breath as Apple for tablets.
Apple is legitimately number one in tablets while Microsoft isn't even on the top five vendor list. How are we not to see this slant as some form of paid-for-ad placement in a story?
This trend of slanting reports can go further where an analytical company can weaponize a report by engineering the data to create a blurred set of statistics designed to favor one company over another.
For instance. Apple sells the expensive yet technologically advanced Apple Watch. A wrist band device is not even in the same category. Wrist bands from Xiaomi on Amazon range from $21 to $35. You can buy their latest Mi Band 4 for $33.29 at Walmart.
Apple Watches roughly range from $199 for the Apple Watch Series 3 to Apple Watch Series 5 running up to $799. The Specialty Series 5 Hermez can run much higher, such as US$1399.
Xiaomi is always overshadowed by the Apple Watch in statistical reports and so magically Canalys created a new category that blurs the data lines and favors Xiaomi's cheap, cheap bands over the Apple Watch. The new category is simply called "Wearable Bands."
That's fine, but Apple doesn't make a cheap, cheap band like Xiaomi, Samsung or Fitbit do. So how is Apple listed on their chart below if they don't make a cheap wearable band? Canalys decided to "dumb-down" the sophisticated Apple Watch to being a mere cheap band. It's designed to simply make it look as if Xiaomi has surged ahead of Apple, the one-time leader. It creates a false impression. It's a nice marketing tool that Xiaomi can use in presentations or to point out to customers at their stores. Look, Xiaomi is the leader over Apple!
If Apple doesn't make a band, then they shouldn't have been thrown into this category, period.
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The public expects analytical companies to present honest categories with fair rules that are executed in a neutral and unbiased fashion. Today's report by Canalys is a clear case of purposely blurring the lines to give Xiaomi an undeserved win over Apple when in reality Apple doesn't even sell wearable bands along the line that other brands listed on the chart do. It clearly appears to be a paid-for-ad placement created for Xiaomi. Simply put, It's pure deceit.
In the end, lumping in a sophisticated Apple Watch into the cheap, cheap bands category doesn't pass the laugh test. It's like lumping a jaguar into a statistical report for motorized tricycles. Then again, for the right price, I suppose an analytical research firm could weaponize a report to say anything you want it to.