According to a report by IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the smartwatch market has taken a hit this quarter while the overall wearables market is growing by 3.1 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16). Total wearables shipments reached 23 million in the quarter, according to data from the.
Basic wearables, primarily comprised of fitness bands, accounted for 85 percent of the market and experienced double-digit growth. IDC expects the momentum for basic wearables to continue for the remainder of 2016 as the holiday season is now in full swing. However, smart wearables capable of running third party apps will likely continue to struggle in the near term.
Let’s take a look at top performing brands.
After releasing a long awaited refresh for the Charge HR with the Charge 2, Fitbit has gained the top slot in 3Q16. Despite the recent negativity surrounding the company’s long-term strategy and stock price, IDC expects Fitbit to continue leading the pack in the near term. The acquisition of Coin and the potential to expand into the smartwatch category present an opportunity for the company to be more than just a fitness brand.
Xiaomi’s new Mi Band includes heart rate tracking and is priced well below any competition, making it more suitable for impulse buying than any other fitness band. Despite its worldwide growth in 3Q16, the company managed to lose market share as almost every other vendor outpaced its growth. The problem with Xiaomi is its inability to gain traction outside its home country.
Garmin has one of the widest portfolios among all the fitness wearable vendors in this market. However, its strategy and branding remain focused on hardcore fitness enthusiasts. With the launch of recent products like the Fenix Chronos, Garmin has also managed to improve its image as a company with a great fashion sense.
Apple’s aging lineup and an unintuitive user interface are the main reason for its year-over-year decline in 3Q16. Though both issues have been addressed with the latest generation watches but it will be challenging for Apple to maintain its hold over smartwatch category.
This year Samsung released two new models, Gear Fit 2 and the Icon X. The company was able to move large volumes of its latest wearables in the global market thanks to bundles offered with the Note 7 and other Samsung smartphones. Though the Note 7 was recalled, many consumers were allowed to retain their Fit 2 or Icon X, thereby artificially inflating Samsung’s growth.