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IDC: Worldwide wearables up 5.5% due to gains in emerging markets

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa and Latin America grew 14% YoY as basic wristbands are still in high demand.

IDC: Worldwide wearables up 5.5% due to gains in emerging markets

The wearables market keeps growing, with shipment volume reaching 27.9 million units in the second quarter of the year, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. That's growth of 5.5 percent year-on-year in terms of number of units shipped, while the dollar value was up 8.3 percent (to $4.8 billion) due to continued popularity of smartwatches with their high price tags.

Unsurprisingly, emerging markets were behind this growth — Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America grew 14 percent year over year as basic wristbands are still in high demand (due to the low price) and smartwatches also gained traction.

On the other hand, mature markets — comprised of North America, Japan, and Western Europe — declined 6.3 percent year over year.

"The decline in mature markets is by no means worrisome as these markets are in the midst of transitioning to more sophisticated wearables," Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. "While the previous generation of wearables was focused on providing descriptive feedback like step counts, the current and upcoming generations are far more capable and are well on track to becoming prescriptive and diagnostic tools. Surrounding these smarter wearables is a constellation of technologies and service providers that includes app developers, telcos, component makers, healthcare institutions and more — each poised for growth in the coming years."

Top 5 wearables companies

Apple is still the top vendor thanks to the continued demand for its LTE-enabled Watch, which makes it welcome addition to many telco channels around the world. Now that the company has unveiled watchOS 5, it has also begun to chart out potential replacement cycles as the latest version of Apple's smartwatch platform will be compatible only with Series 1 and later.

Xiaomi held the second position and has successfully diversified its product portfolio to include shoes, kids watches, and multiple variants of the Mi Band, each priced at the low end of the market. The company also grew its brand awareness across Europe and the Middle East.

Fitbit's decline continued as the company largely relied on sales of basic wristbands in the past and was not able to maintain pace during the second quarter. However, with the launch of the Versa, the fitness giant has successfully expanded its user-base and emerged as the second largest smartwatch brand during the quarter with 1.1 million smartwatches shipped.

Huawei, like Xiaomi, has been heavily focused on the Chinese market though this is slowly changing as the company starts to experience growth outside its home turf. The company's dual brand strategy has also been paying off as Honor accounts for a little over half of all the wearables shipped by Huawei.

Finally, Garmin extended its lead over Samsung to maintain its position as the number five vendor worldwide and saw its shipment volume of smartwatches extend their lead over its basic wearables. Still, the company continues to benefit from the success of its fitness-oriented Vivo line and the launch of its new golf-centered Approach S10.

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