Will the Smartband Market Continue to Shrink?

  • The global smartband market’s shipment growth entered the negative territory in 2021.
  • With COVID-19, consumers are starting to become more interested in smartwatches that provide more advanced health and fitness monitoring.
  • Although smartbands remain attractive for price-sensitive consumers, competition from a fast-growing low-priced smartwatches has intensified.

The global smartband market’s shipment growth entered the negative territory in 2021, and this trend is expected to continue in the future, according to a recent Counterpoint Research study. Considering the great growth potential of the entire wearable market, why is it that only smartbands have such a bleak future?

Smartbands were the first to gain popularity in the wrist wearable market, thanks to their lower price and longer battery life compared to smartwatches. However, during COVID-19, consumers’ interest in healthcare and fitness increased sharply and they started shifting focus to smartwatches supporting more functions. As a result, smartband shipments started registering negative growth from 2021 onwards.

Source: Counterpoint Research IoT Device Tracker

Similarities and differences between smartband and smartwatch

Both smartband and smartwatch are watch-type computing devices worn on the wrist. In terms of their primary purpose of health and fitness tracking, they perform the same function. However, while the two devices differ in appearance, the bigger difference lies in the operating system and its features. Smartbands are mainly operated on RTOS (real-time operating system), while smartwatches use a higher-level OS and support more advanced health monitoring features such as blood pressure and ECG. A higher-level OS can also support third-party apps to enable more advanced health monitoring and management apps. Further, users can download and use their preferred weather, music or gaming apps on their smartwatches.

Similar user experience but different target price ranges

Another important difference is the price. Based on our most recent estimate, the cost of 89% of smartband shipments in 2021 was less than $100. On the other hand, the cost of only 30% of smartwatch shipments in 2021 was less than $100.

Source: Counterpoint Research IoT Device Tracker

Since the second half of 2021, the release of low-priced smartwatch models from Indian OEMs has seen explosive growth, attracting existing smartband users. As a result, smartwatch shipments in India have soared. Against this backdrop, the trend of moving from smartbands to smartwatches is expected to continue and the smartband market will continue to shrink. However, the YoY shipment decline for smartbands will gradually moderate along with the stabilization of the smartwatch market growth rate.

Smartband OEMs are increasing focus on smartwatches

With major smartband brands such as Xiaomi and Fitbit starting to focus more on smartwatch launches than on smartbands, the proportion of the top-five major brands will gradually decrease and the share of small-to-mid brands will increase. However, since the users of Garmin band, which has a higher ASP, have high brand loyalty and limited alternatives, it may manage to maintain a stable market share while finding it difficult to avoid a shipment decrease.


What is clear in this changing market trend is that consumers’ interest in wrist wearable devices is increasing. In order to compensate for the weaker functions compared to smartwatches, smartbands equipped with more advanced health monitoring features, such as SpO2 and body temperature measurement, have been released recently. Therefore, we believe that the future of the wrist wearable market is bright as consumers have a wider choice across price ranges.

Related Posts

Sujeong Lim is a Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research based out of Seoul Korea. In Counterpoint, she focuses on mobile ICT industry and mobile device research, especially dedicated on the Korea mobile market. After 10+ years product marketing experience during her working period, she joined Counterpoint to pursue her interest in IoT and emerging future technology.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.