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Apple still on top as wearables market grows worldwide

05 Sep 2018

Growth continued in the global wearables market during 2Q18 as shipment volume reached 27.9 million units, up 5.5% from the previous year according to data from the IDC ‘Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker’.

The market experienced similar gains in dollar value, growing 8.3% year-over-year to $4.8 billion in 2Q18 fueled by the continued popularity of smartwatches with their high price tags.

Apple maintained its position atop the wearables market with market-beating growth and continued demand for its LTE-enabled Watch.

This makes it a welcome addition to many telco channels worldwide.

Now that the company has unveiled watchOS 5, it has also begun to chart out potential replacement cycles as the latest version of Apple’s smartwatch platform will be compatible only with Series 1 and later.

Xiaomi held the second position and has successfully diversified its product portfolio to include shoes, kids’ watches, and multiple variants of the Mi Band, each priced at the low end of the market.

Fitbit's decline continued as the company largely relied on sales of basic wristbands in the past and was not able to maintain pace during the second quarter.

However, with the launch of the Versa, the fitness giant has successfully expanded its user-base and emerged as the second largest smartwatch brand during the quarter with 1.1 million smartwatches shipped.

Fitbit is also one of the few OEMs that continues to actively target the commercial market and remains a market leader in this space.

Huawei, like Xiaomi, has been heavily focused on the Chinese market though this is slowly changing as the company starts to experience growth outside its home turf.

The dual brand strategy has also been paying off as Honor accounts for a little over half of all the wearables shipped by Huawei.

Garmin extended its lead over Samsung to maintain its position as the number five vendor worldwide and saw its shipment volume of smartwatches extend their lead over its basic wearables.

This further underscores the growing appetite for smart wearables over basic wearables. Still, the company continues to benefit from the success of its fitness-oriented Vivo line and the launch of its new golf-centred Approach S10.

"Two key forces were at work during the quarter: stronger demand for smart wearables, and slower declines in the basic wearables market," says IDC wearables team research director Ramon T. Llamas.

"Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smart watches have met that demand. Additionally, relative newcomers to the smartwatch market like Fitbit and several Chinese vendors have seen steady growth.

"Basic wearables have been in decline over the past several quarters, but that does not mean that they no longer have a place in the market. There still exists multiple market segments who prefer simple and inexpensive wearable devices and this is where wrist-worn fitness trackers and hybrid watches are finding demand."

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