The International Data Corporation (IDC) announced on Monday that the wearables market has seen a total growth of 67.2 percent in Q1, 2016 compared to the same time-frame last year. Last year, the devices shipped were clocked at 11.8 million units while this year 19.7 million units were sold worldwide.
The IDC points out that this growth is largely because of a slew of new devices, huge price cuts in existing models and company rationalizations. Just the beginning of this year marked the release of a number of new wearable devices from different firms, most of them showcased at major tech shows and or consumer exhibitions. In fact, the competition in the wearables sector has become so intense that many start-ups announced headcount reduction or shut down completely.
According to Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, the wearables market is not just expanding rapidly, but maturing all the same. This stands to show that the devices we are getting access to now are much ahead from their predecessors. But whatever the case, the wearable technology is still divided into two major branches right now– smart watches and basic wearables (devices which do not run third party applications).
There’s a clear bifurcation and growth within the wearables market,
said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers.
Smart watches attempt to offer holistic experiences by being everything to everyone, while basic wearables like fitness bands, connected clothing, or hearables have a focused approach and often offer specialized use cases.
While Apple is the current ruler of the smartwatches block, it comes as an almost shock that smaller vendors are still leading the overall wearables market. Although most firms are seeing negative growth in terms of the market share percentage points, the sales have actually increased significantly.
We can see that Fitbit is still leading the race. In Q1 2015, the wearable maker held a steady market share of 32.6 percent. This number has seen a significant drop, by 8.1 percentage points to be precise. This is despite the fact that Fitbit shipped a total of 4.8 million devices, that’s a million more than last year.
Coming down to slot number 2, we have Xiaomi taking over Apple’s place. The Chinese firm has a steady market share of 19 percent, loosing 3.4 points compared to a year ago. The company’s wearables arm is currently steady only because of the new line of affordable devices and kids’ smartwatches that could help parents locate them. Also, Xiaomi seems to be standing strong only in China.
Apple has now slipped to the third spot, despite being the market leader when it comes to smartwatches. It currently holds 7.5 percentage points which is a fair game to start with, considering that it is comparatively new in this sector looking at other companies. Also, keeping in mind the premium pricing of Apple devices, these numbers are good.
Following Apple is Garmin, the Switzerland-based company which specializes in providing GPS based devices. The vendor, according to IDC stats, has sold just under a million units this quarter that comprises for 4.6 percent of the market. Yet again, we see that the overall market share has dropped since last year for this company, too.
Samsung and BBK come in next with just about 700,000 devices sold and a market share of 3.6 percent. The fact that BBK managed to jump into the top five positions may come as a surprise to some, seeing as it’s still an infant in the market. But the performance of its Y01 and Y02 phone watches for children managed to get the company a top spot.