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IDC: Smartwatches accelerate in the second quarter

Device shipments grew 10.3% year over year to hit 26.3 million units during the second quarter of 2017; smartwatches grew 60.9%.

IDC: Smartwatches accelerate in the second quarter

The whole wearables market continues to reach for the skies, with device shipments growing 10.3 percent year over year to hit 26.3 million units during the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

For the first time shipments of basic wearables declined with annual growth of -0.9 percent, while smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Android Wear lineup grew 60.9 percent in the quarter thanks to fitness and fashion enthusiasts.

"The transition towards more intelligent and feature-filled wearables is in full swing," Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. "For years, rudimentary fitness trackers have acted as a gateway to smartwatches and now we're at a point where brands and consumers are graduating to a more sophisticated device. Previous niche features such as GPS and additional health tracking capabilities are quickly becoming staples of the modern smartwatch. Just a year ago only 24.5% of all wearables had embedded GPS while today that number has reached almost 41.7%."

IDC also saw triple-digit growth from clothing and earwear, both of which are still in their initial stages; by targeting specific market niches or providing unique value propositions, they can go beyond simple reporting of data to gain traction.

When it comes to company-by-company performance, Xiaomi is still at the top thanks to its affordable Mi Band lineup. Additionally, the Chinese vendors also offers wearables for kids and has recently shipped its first pair of smart shoes under the Mijia brand.

Apple is second on the list, and is growing faster than the entire market. The iPhone maker has been slowly expanding its reach among health insurance providers, and the upcoming Watch OS version is expected to bring features like Siri to the wrist (making the product that much better).

Then there's Fitbit, which according to IDC, is in a period of transition. The newly announced Ionic smartwatch could help the company cement its place in the growing smartwatch market. However, short-term growth remains challenged as the product portfolio is vast and undifferentiated.

Forth on the list is Garmin, which has declined 6.6% from last year. Nonetheless, the company has managed to grow revenue and it too has a new smartwatch.

Last on the top 5 list, Fossil, is relying on its large distribution network of fashion stores as well as multiple brands — including Misfit — to attract a previously unaware audience to the wearables market. While smartwatches from Michael Kors and Fossil took center stage, the company's hybrid watch lineup also gained traction.

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