Wearable computing market grows as gadgets evolve: IDC

05 March, 2017, 00:32 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Wearable computing market grows as gadgets evolve IDC

Beyond the top five vendors are new entrants, including fashion icons like Fossil and emerging companies like BBK and Li-Ning, that are tapping into niche segments of the wearables market, said IDC. Some have called it a fad, while others have claimed it's already dead.

According to IDC's data, Apple's record quarter for Apple Watch sales put it at 4.6 million units shipped in Q4, giving it 13% year-over-year growth for the quarter and third position with 13.6% market share. Shipments for the entire year grew annually by 25 per cent from 81.9 million to 102.4 million.

With so few new smartwatches on the market - and little on the horizon from either the watch or fitness tracker camps - it's easy to think wearables might have peaked.

"Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications", stated Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's wearables team.

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Those numbers are substantial, yet the biggest player in the market, Fitbit, is losing market share.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi has registered a steep rise in the market share, as it now captures 15.2 per cent of market share as opposed to 9.1 per cent of a year ago in the same quarter.

IDC says this is a result of new vendors entering the market and previous champions refreshing their product lineups.

While Garmin, fourth in the market for the quarter, saw a decline of 4%, it managed to raise its selling price to an average of US$258 in the fourth quarter from US$200 past year. Here's more from IDC about Apple's 13 percent year-over-year growth. 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. Smartwatch sales were down - with AAPL doing worse than most - and some analysts were calling for a miserable Q4. The front-runner in the wearable race is Fitbit, an American tech firm, well lauded for their range of activity trackers and fitness devices.

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