Smartwatch Forecast 2015-2020: Apple’s Competitors Will Benefit if Apple Watch Succeeds

May 06, 2015  | Subscribers Only

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2015 will be the year where smartwatch adoptions will gain traction. Shipments are expected to grow tenfold from 3.6 million in 2014 to 36 million in 2015. In this report, IHS looks at the challenges that manufacturers will need to address in order to be successful in this nascent market. Due to the reliance on smartphones, Apple and Google will have an advantage in the smartwatch market, but others may also succeed provided they adopt the correct strategy. 


  • The smartwatch market will grow from 3.6 million shipments in 2014 to reach 101 million shipments in 2020 as smartwatch shipments benefit from the vast scale of the smartphone market. 
  • Over time, IHS forecasts Apple’s share of the market to fall to 38% in 2020 as other smartwatch makers refine their products and successfully serve the vast Android smartphone market, which Apple chooses not to touch.
  • Smartphone market participants are the key drivers of the smartwatch market as they look for new revenue sources leveraging similar capabilities to those needed to succeed in the smartphone market.

In this report: 

  • All smartwatch makers benefit if Apple Watch is a success
    • Baseline forecast: Apple Watch will grow the total smartwatch market
    • Understand the potential impact of Apple Watch failure now
  • The smartphone market will drive the smartwatch market
  • Technology is barely good enough to create a usable smartwatch
  • Recommendations: Smartwatch makers must navigate the perils of wearable ecosystem strategy
    • Apps, Apps, Apps
    • Avoid strategy taxes
    • Embrace and extend Apple
    • Build products for a ‘Modular Mobile’ world
    • Be nimble and iterate

List of tables and charts: 
•    Global smartwatch shipments by OEM (m)
•    Global smartwatch shipments by OS (m)

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