Global IoT market Q1 2020
Shanghai (China), Bengaluru (India), Singapore, Reading (UK) and Portland (US) – Monday, 6 April 2020
Canalys forecasts that shipments of wearable bands, smart personal audio devices and smart speakers will grow 9.8% to reach 718.0 million units in 2020 as consumer IoT vendors look for growth in markets disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The three major device categories form an extension to IoT ecosystems deployed by smartphone and platform vendors, such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei. Though a strong downturn is expected, vendors have become more proactive to make sure they can weather this challenging time.
With people stuck at home, consumer IoT vendors are actively shifting focus to help users effectively work and learn remotely, remain connected with friends and family, and stay active and entertained during the lockdown. “Hearable vendors still shipping devices via online channels have quickly shifted their marketing messages to highlight key benefits, particularly their conference calling abilities. Consumers are looking for wireless audio devices that offer flexibility for work, education and play. Canalys predicts that smart personal audio device shipments will increase by 15.5% in 2020 to become the fastest-growing consumer IoT segment this year,” said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen. “More time spend sitting around means there’s also an opportunity for wearable band vendors to increase engagement with users by promoting access to premium workouts and the accompanying devices that help them stay active.” Canalys expects wearable band shipments to increase by 3.8% in 2020.
While the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and hotspots move to Europe and the US, Canalys, with cautious optimism, expects COVID-19 to be under control by Q3. “China will be a key growth driver in 2020 as the country is confident that the pandemic is well under control,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low. “Based on our first-hand experience in China, the government’s strict regulatory measures have contained the spread of COVID-19. With safety measures in place to prevent its re-emergence, economic activities will resume quickly and consumers will start to spend again. The same is likely to happen in other countries when countermeasures kick in.”
The biggest challenge faced by industry players stems from economic uncertainty. “From supply disruptions to demand shock, many companies are well informed about the significant challenges they are facing right now. Vendors must take additional actions to mitigate the impact. ‘Wait and see’ is no longer an option,” said Low. “The pandemic will be the critical moment that splits future market leaders from laggards, depending on the actions companies take now. In addition to more proactive and targeted marketing to stay connected with consumers, it is good time to form new partnerships, for example with new online service and content providers, to grow user bases for both parties with additional services targeting stay-at-home consumers.”
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