The smartwatch market has taken a dive in Q3 2016 with Apple Watch seeing a drop in shipments, according to numbers from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). Even as smartwatches suffered, wearables grew 3.1 per cent year over year in the quarter with players like Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin dominating the chart. IDC estimates over 23 million wearables were shipped in the quarter.
According to IDC, basic wearables which includes mainly fitness bands, accounted for 85% of the market and saw double digit growth. The research firm expects the momentum to continue in the 2016 holiday season, but says smart wearables running third party apps will continue to struggle.
“It’s still early days, but we’re already seeing a notable shift in the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers in a press statement.
“Where smartwatches were once expected to take the lead, basic wearables now reign supreme. Simplicity is a driving factor and this is well reflected in the top vendor list as four out of five offer a simple, dedicated fitness device. Meanwhile, from a design perspective, many devices are focusing on fashion first while allowing the technology to blend in with the background,” he added.
In terms of individual vendors, Fitbit is the market leader with 5.3 million shipments and 11 per cent year on year growth. IDC says it expects Fitbit to continue leading the pack in the near term and the company could expand into the smartwatch category given its acquisition of Coin.
Xiaomi is number two in the list with 3.8 million shipments, although according to IDC the company managed to lose market share as almost every other vendor outpaced its growth.
Garmin is now number three, but IDC points out the company’s overall strategy and branding remain focused on fitness fanatics. IDC notes the launch of recent products like the fenix Chronos helped improve Garmin’s image on the fashion front. It saw 12.2 per cent growth in the quarter with over 1.3 million shipments.
Apple is at number four with 1.1 million shipments, and according to IDC the company saw 71 per cent decline in Q3. IDC says “the primary reasons for the downturn were an aging lineup and an unintuitive user interface,” and that Apple’s success will be muted in this category.
Samsung is number five with 89.9 per cent growth on a year on year basis. According to IDC, Gear Fit 2 and the Icon X, which were bundled with Note 7 helped in “artificially inflating Samsung’s growth,” even though the phone itself was eventually recalled by the company.