Connected watches do not know the crisis

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They have abandoned their image of tech-savvy gadgets to appeal to the greatest number: smartwaches or smartwatches contain a whole bunch of applications that are very useful on a daily basis.

It’s a safe bet that you will find one at the foot of the tree this year. Praised by consumers, smartwatches have never sold so well. The figures speak for themselves: in the second quarter of 2021, more than 18 million units found buyers worldwide, an increase in deliveries of 47% compared to the previous year (12.3 million in the second quarter 2020). What excites Neil Mawston, Executive Director of Strategy Analaytics, behind this study: “The smartwatch market is on fire. The outlook for the rest of the year and the start of the holiday season is very bright. “

Apple as the undisputed leader

The position of the American giant is almost hegemonic, with nearly 52% of the world market share. It sold some 9.5 million units in the second quarter of 2021, up from 6.5 million a year earlier, an increase of 46%. The Apple Watch Series 6, by far the most popular model, is no stranger to this success.

With a stronger screen, the new Apple Watch is waterproof and dustproof. © Apple

Samsung, which ranks second in the ranking with 11% of the market share in 2021, records a higher development over this period. The increase in sales reached 54%, but volumes remain half as large (6.5 million in 2020 and 9.5 million in 2021).

A little less known to the general public, Garmin climbs to third place on the podium (8.3% of market share in 2021, down compared to 2020). This position can be explained by the large catalog of watches specializing in sports: running, swimming, cycling, diving, golf, fitness, etc. The tail pack is mainly made up of manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo or Realme, including the big sales are concentrated on the entry level (less than 150 €).

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watch 4 features the new Wear OS operating system. © Samsung

Sport and health, popular uses

For a long time, connected watches were content to be an extension of the smartphone on the wrist, to read an SMS or collect an email discreetly. But the periods of confinement have revealed unsuspected vocations of sportsmen and, by ricochet, had an unexpected effect on the sales of smartwatches. Almost all models incorporate physical activity data collection into their basic functions. They count steps, measure distance traveled and time spent exercising. Most are equipped with a GPS to suggest and record running routes for example. Cyclists and bikers use this function to guide them on their daily journeys.

Some models are specifically designed for athletes, especially at Garmin, TomTom and Polar. They integrate very precise training programs and plan sessions according to your level and the physical parameters recorded by the sensors or evaluated by algorithms (heart rate, VO2max, etc.). They know how to count your pool lengths, indicate the distance that separates you from the green or identify the kilometers and the vertical drop covered on snow-covered slopes.

WatchOS 8, the operating system for Apple watches, provides many useful features for athletes. © Apple

Always more efficient, connected watches have become real health assistants. Packed with sensors, they scrutinize many parameters, nothing escapes them. They thus monitor heart rate thanks to a heart rate monitor, which is practical for monitoring its development according to the level of activity. At the same time, the most recent watches offer an electrocardiogram function, designed to identify possible atrial fibrillation. The measured data can be extracted into a PDF document as a graph for transmission to a cardiologist. Measuring SPO2, or oxygen saturation in the blood, is valuable information for people with respiratory conditions. Functions available on the latest models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (from € 269) or the new Apple Watch Series 7 (from € 429).

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