FOCUS: Retailers say smartwatch sales to soar further after market adds 75% in H1
By Yekaterina Yezhova
MOSCOW, Sep 2 (PRIME) -- Sports and fashion have become the main sales drivers in Russia of mostly expensive smartwatches, whose total market jumped by 75% on the year to 8 billion rubles in January–June, top local sellers said, adding they expect growth to persist with the sales most likely spiking ahead of the New Year holidays.
“In line with the healthy lifestyle, smartwatches are becoming an important element of daily image of a modern user. Besides, the wearables team up effectively with smartphones and complement them. Smartwatch sales double every year. Devices get new functions, more autonomy and a wider range,” said Valeria Andreyeva, PR director of M.Video-Eldorado Group, one of the country’s largest electronics sellers.
In January–June, smartwatch sales jumped by 60% to 300,000 devices. Bestsellers were Apple, Garmin and Samsung.
“Demand shifts toward more expensive models. The average January–June price rose by 9% to 26,500 rubles compared to the same period in 2018 and by 17% compared with the first half of 2017,” Andreyeva told PRIME.
The share of smartwatches with a price tag of more than 27,000 rubles exceeded half of sales in money and stood at 40% in units thanks to popularity of Apple Watch, sports models, and hybrid accessories from famous fashion brands, according to M.Video-Eldorado.
The smartwatch segment, which was traditionally occupied by smartphone manufacturers, is being discovered by other players, like sports and fashion brands.
“The sports watch section offers several dozen of models: they are used by those willing to improve performance in jogging, swimming, cycling and other activities. Garmin is the most popular brand in the sports section and is the third in total sales of smartwatches in the country,” Andreyeva said.
“In mid-2019 M.Video exclusively offered watches from Fossil and Skagen, the line was later replenished with designer watches by Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, and Diesel. At present, more than 30 models are available in stores and on mvideo.ru, and their sales spike by several times monthly.”
The seller expects the smartwatch category to maintain the current growth rates in the short-term. “It’s logical to expect the peak of sales in December because smartwatches as well as fitness trackers are among the most popular New Year gifts,” Andreyeva said.
Multi-category online platform Ozon thinks demand will continue to migrate to the Internet from offline since people can compare prices and read feedback instantly on the Web.
“This trend will also multiply the number of co-branding projects of online retailers and electronics names. For example, Ozon cooperates with Samsung and earlier this year had become the only multi-channel online floor to offer a limited version of smartwatches Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, a special edition for football club Spartak,” the online platform’s PR Director Maria Zaikina told PRIME.
“Such projects engage in online shopping even those who used to prefer other shopping channels. We also think smart wearables will have even more functions of wellbeing tracking as the obsession with the healthy lifestyle obliges to do so.”
Fitness trackers and locators
M.Video-Eldorado Group calculated that sales of fitness trackers, the most massive segment of smart wearables, more than doubled on the year to 2.2 billion rubles and a record high of 1 million devices in January–June. The average price remained flat at 2,000 rubles.
Xiaomi dominated with a market share of 60%. The bestsellers were also Jet, Honor, Ritmix and Smarterra.
Every year fitness trackers get more and more options, like notifications about messages or calls and contactless payment via the near field communication (NFC) technology. Protection against humidity and dust becomes an important standard, and the quality of measurements improves, M.Video-Eldorado said.
Locators for senior people and children with a tracker option showed the best growth dynamics that tripled to some 485 million rubles and 180,000 devices. The average price gradually falls and stood at 2,700 rubles in the first half of the year. Jet led the market and was followed by Elari and Button of Life.
Zaikina at Ozon said falling prices of locators will continuously make the devices affordable to a wider audience.
(66.4897 rubles – U.S. $1)