According to the latest findings in Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide wearables market actually quite healthy, reached a new all-time high as shipments reached 33.9 million units in fourth quarter of 2016, growing 16.9% year-over-year. With new vendors entering the wearables market, shipments for the entire year grew 25%, totalling 102.4 million devices shipped.
Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications.
It’s enough to blur the lines against most smart wearables, to the point where first generation smartwatches are no better than most fitness trackers.
Health and fitness remains a major focus, but once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available,
This will also solve another key issue – freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience.
Research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, Ramon Llamas says
With the entrance of multiple new vendors with strengths in different industries, the wearables market is expected to maintain a positive outlook, though much of this growth is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand,
As the technology disappears into the background, hybrid watches and other fashion accessories with fitness tracking are starting to gain traction.
This presents an opportunity to sell multiple wearables to a single consumer under the guise of ‘fashion.’ But more importantly, it helps build an ecosystem and helps vendors provide consumers with actionable insights thanks to the large amounts of data collected behind the scenes,
Senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani says.
Top five vendors are Fitbit, Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin and Samsung. There are many new entrants including fashion icons like Fossil (luxury/fashion device) along with their sub-brands and emerging companies like BBK (child-monitoring devices) and Li-Ning (step-counting shoes), that are tapping into niche segments of the wearables market.
Read more on ChannelLife: IDC: Wearables aren’t dead – market grows 16.9 percent in fourth quarter
- Fitbit took 19.2% market share with 6.5m shipments in Q4 2016 and 22.5m over the whole year, but this was down from 29% in Q4 2015 as faced serious competition from Xiaomi. Fitbit also faced one of its largest declines to date, as it remained heavily focused on the US, a market that is quickly approaching saturation for fitness trackers.
- Shipments of Xiaomi‘s wearables jumped 96.2% year-on-year to 5.2m in Q4 2016, giving global market share of 15.2%. Xiaomi has stuck with low-cost strategy and has slowly tried to veer upstream in terms of pricing by introducing new devices with heart rate monitoring and a mildly higher selling price.
- Apple secured 13.6% market share after its sales rose 13% year-on-year to 4.6m with Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2.
- Garmin secured 6.2% of the market with 2.1m shipments. Garmin did manage to significantly raise its average selling price (ASP) to $258 in the fourth quarter from under $200 last year.
- Samsung recorded year-on-year growth of 37.9% to 1.9m, giving 5.6% market share with successful launch of two new models (Gear S3 Classic and Frontier) and remains the only major company offering cellular-enabled wearables.
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