Smartwatches grow in popularity

The smartwatch market is gaining prominence due to the rising number of health and fitness monitoring applications globally

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE wristwatch could easily be one of the greatest inventions at the turn of the 20th century as it immediately became a “worldwide sensation” for being a functional product that could also be used as a fashion statement.

While the more practical consumers would use the wristwatch as a timekeeping instrument, the more discerning treat it as an accessory — a must-have to complete a look or an outfit.

The wristwatch has continued to evolve over the years in line with various technological advancements with more functions added to the once very simple device.

The good old wristwatch has also gotten smarter in the past few years, just like the televisions, telephone and every other gadget.

According to TechTerms, an online computer dictionary, a smartwatch is a digital watch that provides many other features besides timekeeping.

With the additional features in a smartwatch, people can use it to monitor their heart rate, track their activity, set and receive reminders throughout the day.

Just like the smartphone, a smartwatch has a touchscreen display, which allows a person to perform actions by tapping or swiping on the screen.

Modern smartwatches incorporate several apps, similar to apps that are available on smartphones and tablets.

These apps provide additional functionality, such as displaying weather information, listing stock prices, showing maps and directions.

Additionally, most smartwatches can also be used to make phone calls and send and receive text messages.

The device has also gone through many stages of transformation to be what and where it is at today.

As we see it, smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular among young professionals and millennials.

Wearable devices are significant to these groups of individuals as it symbolises status and awareness towards the advancing technology.

Google’s former Android wear director David Singleton had revealed that smartwatch users generally fall into two categories, which are the cord-cutters and the hyperconnected.

“The ‘cord-cutters’ users are those who view a smartwatch as a means to disconnect.

“Whereas, the hyperconnected users are those who feed on the constant, digital drip of every email, text messages and notification that comes in,” he said in an interview with Co.Design.

Singleton said while it may sound paradoxical and even unhealthy, both of these use cases ease the anxiety of their respective users in their own ways.

Nevertheless, the trend of wearing smartwatches has been growing steadily as it gains popularity among people that are constantly in touch with technological development.

According to the Global Wearable Sensors Market Size Industry Report (2018-2025), the smartwatch market is gaining prominence due to the rising number of health and fitness monitoring applications globally.

The report also stated that sensors are a vital aspect in wearable devices used by consumers owing to an increased focus on tracking real-time motion sensing activities.

“Wearable device manufacturers have integrated contextual information and data points to determine motion sensing activities.

“Further, its analysis provides users with results that can be used to define health and fitness goals,” it added.

The report also highlighted the rising penetration rates of urbanisation and the demand for aesthetically appealing advanced products with the ability to meet the consumers’ requirements, such as time schedules, multiple features in one device, has been continuously driving the demand for smartwatches globally.

Additionally, the huge millennial population has been adopting smartwatches due to the increased spending for their regular work hours tracking and luxury standards.

Meanwhile, experts review site, Best Advisor said when smartwatches first came out in Malaysia, it saw a lot of fitness enthusiasts strapping the device on their wrist.

The site also noted that apart from monitoring workout progress, smartwatches have also proved to be a reliable product in monitoring an individual’s overall health.

“Some people even exchange their good old fashion watches for a smartwatch. Gradually though, more people are seeing the convenience of owning one,” it said.

While, according to the survey from Rock Health on digital health adoption, wearable device adoption had increased rapidly from 24% in 2018 to 33% in 2019.

Hence, this demonstrated that more consumers are leveraging on such devices to address critical health needs rather than just wearing it for fashion or fitness tracking.

German-based online portal for statistics, Statista had forecasted that the revenue for the wearable segment in Malaysia is projected to reach RM1.7 billion in 2020.

Statista stated that the number of smartwatch users in the country is expected to amount to 1.2 million by 2024.

On the industry’s outlook, Statista noted that the wearable market has been steadily increasing in the past years, as they are not appealing to athletes only anymore, but are also beneficial for people with health concerns.

“The future of wearable devices will also see many collaborations and mergers of apparel manufacturers and tech giants, as smart clothes are the next innovative step, with 5G enabling more interactions between humans and the Internet of Things.

“Nevertheless, the cost, legal regulations and risk of data theft are restraining the market growth at the moment,” it added.

Today, they are many different brands on the market that are offering smartwatches with a sleek and attractive design, with multifunctional uses.

Industry experts have pointed out when picking a smartwatch, consumers are advised to get one that fits their style and wrist comfortably.

There are a wide variety of smartwatches that consumers can choose from, depending mostly on the phone system that they are using.

This means that iPhone users will most likely go with an Apple Watch, while Android users are recommended to check out the wide array of brands like Samsung, Garmin, Xiaomi, Huawei and so on.

However, when it comes to the most outstanding smartwatch of 2020, industry experts have ranked the Apple Watch Series 5 in the first place.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was also rated as the best competitor for Apple Watch and the perfect choice for those that are using Android smartphones.