The worldwide wearables market is adjusting as smartwatches continue to come to the forefront. In the coming years, smartwatches will encompass more features and functionalities.
One of the hottest products recently is experiencing growing pains. Smartwatch shipment slid 51.6 percent to 2.7 million units in Q3 compared to the same period last year, according to IDC.
Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that Q3 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availability after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of Q3.
“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning. 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,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s Wearables team.
Wearable devices are all the rage. Fueled by the growing popularity of fitness trackers and the Apple Watch, the global wearable device market grew 126.9 percent in Q4, bringing total annual shipment to 78.1 million units, a rise of 171.6 percent, according to IDC.
“Triple-digit growth highlights growing interest in the wearables market from both end-users and vendors. “It shows that wearables are not just for the technophiles and early adopters; wearables can exist and are welcome in the mass market. And since wearables have yet to fully penetrate the mass market, there is still plenty of room for growth in multiple vectors: new vendors, form factors, applications, and use cases. This will help propel the market further,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s wearables team.
“What is warranted is continued innovation and development. The market can only get so far with ‘me too’ and ‘copycat’ wearable devices. End-users expect improvement from what they have now, and new applications to spur replacement and increased adoption. Historical data, like steps taken and calories burned, has been a very good start. Prescriptive data, like what else a user can do to live a healthier life, coupled with popular applications like social media, news, and navigation, will push wearables further, and attract more users,” he added.
A wrist accessory with a silicon strap has become the latest fashion statement and a must-have for the sporty. We’re talking about the fitness band, which helps to keep track of distance covered, calories burnt and sleep among other things.
According to Canalys, the global wearable band market grew an astonishing 684 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period of 2013.
“Fitbit and Jawbone have very successfully grown and strengthened their relationships with channel partners internationally to grow global shipment volumes. They took first and second place respectively in the basic wearable band market in the first half 2014,’ said Chris Jones, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Canalys.