Published: Mon, March 06, 2017
Electronics | By Lorenzo Hawkins

Wearable computing market grows as gadgets evolve: IDC

Wearable computing market grows as gadgets evolve: IDC

Its share of the wearables market, which includes basic fitness trackers, was an estimated 13.6%, down slightly from 14.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Moving to Apple, the company has shipped over 10.7 million Apple Watch units in 2016 and 4.6 million shipped in the fourth quarter alone. The figures indicate that Xiaomi is posing a serious threat to Apple to position itself as a second largest wearable manufacturer, with a market share of nearly 15.2% compared with 9.1% during FY15. Total wearables shipments for 2016 grew 25 percent to 102.4 million devices as new vendors entered the market and previous champions refreshed their product lineups.

Wearables shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016 grew year-on-year from 29 million units to a record 33.9 million. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of Global Positioning System on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence.

IDC noted that the company remains focused on the United States that is heavily saturated with fitness trackers.

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It is pertinent to note that Fitbit experienced a significant decline in terms of sales, with shipments tumbling to 23% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 94% improvement for Xiaomi, 13% increase for Apple, while Garmin also experienced a decline of 4%.

It's still tiny in relation to wrist devices, but ear-worn devices and sensor-laden clothing each surpassed 1% of the entire market for the past year.

One interesting insight from the IDC study is that much of the growth of wearables is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand. Like its other product lines, the company has stuck with a low-priced strategy and has slowly tried to veer upstream in terms of pricing by introducing new devices with heart rate monitoring and a mildly higher selling price. Garmin caters to a more dedicated fitness audience and this has worked well as many of its users began to graduate from simpler fitness trackers to more sophisticated and expensive sport watches like those offered in the Fenix line.

Samsung rounded out the top five with the launch of two new models - Gear S3 Classic and Frontier.

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