Smartwatch sales are going down south and it seems consumers are still not convinced about the need for a smartwatch wearable, suggests a new industry report released by IDC. According to IDC’s Q3 sales number, smartwatch industry registered a decline of 51.6 per cent from the same time last year. The total smartwatch volume reached 2.7 million units in Q3 2016 while the numbers stood at 5.6 million in the same period last year.
The pain in smartwatch sales isn’t surprising considering the flat sales registered by smartphone and PC industry. Apple saw the biggest decline in terms of sales in Q3 2016. Apple Watch registered a decline of 71.6 per cent over Q3 2016 with shipments of just 1.1 million units. Apple still leads the smartwatch market with 41.3 per cent share. Apple sold 3.9 million units in Q3 2015, the first time its smartwatch became available for retail. Another thing worth noting is Apple Watch Series 2 was made available very recently and could help Apple register a rebound in sales next quarter.
“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team. “Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers.”
While Apple registered over 70 per cent decline in shipments, Garmin has surprised the industry with over 324 per cent year-over-year growth. Garmin shipped 0.6 million units in Q3 2016 in comparison to 0.1 million units in same period last year. Garmin currently accounts for 20.5 per cent market share in the smartwatch segment. According to IDC, Garmin’s growth attributed to its growing list of ConnectIQ-enabled smartwatches and the addition of the fenix Chronos. Garmin’s strategy to focus only on health and fitness with its smartwatch rather than designing a multi-purpose device seems to be working in the broader industry segment.
Samsung, which recently announced Tizen-powered Gear S3 smartwatch, also registered a growth of 9 per cent with shipments in the tune of 0.4 million units. Samsung also managed to gain 14.4 per cent share in the smartwatch market. Lenovo-owned Motorola shipped 0.1 million units with a decline of 73.3 per cent in terms of shipments. While Q3 2016 has seen worst contraction yet in smartwatch sales, IDC expects the numbers to improve with broader availability of Apple Watch Series 2 and Samsung’s Gear S3 range.