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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.
Apple is top of the league in the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipment, according to Canalys.
Samsung returned to second place in Q4, as the improved design of the Gear S2 saw a much better consumer reception than previous wearable efforts by the company. Pebble came third and Huawei fourth, establishing itself as the leading Android Wear vendor.
Basic bands exceeded 37 million shipments for the year. Fitbit set a quarterly shipment record as it comfortably led the category. Xiaomi held second place, shipping 12 million Mi Bands during 2015.