Wearables Market is Starting to Split into “Basic” and “Smart” Wearables
The worldwide wearables market took a step in the right direction in Q3 2017, according to the latest figures from global markets research firm IDC. According to IDC’s data, total wearables shipment volume reached 26.3 million units in Q3, which represented a 7.3 percent increase over the same period last year.
What’s interesting, though, about IDC’s data on wearables shipments, is that it showed the clear emergence of a split between two categories of wearable—smart wearables, and basic wearables. Smart wearables, in this instance, are wearables that are capable of running third party applications, so basically your smartwatches like the Apple Watch. Basic wearables are essentially everything else, so fitness trackers, smart rings, and other smart jewelry-like accessories. Smart wearables, according to IDC, almost exclusively drove the growth for the wearables market as a whole.
"The differing trajectories for both smart and basic wearables underscore the ongoing evolution for the wearables market," Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, said in a statement. "Basic wearables—with devices coming from Fitbit, Xiaomi, and Huawei—helped establish the wearables market. But as tastes and demands have changed towards multi-purpose devices—like smartwatches from Apple, Fossil, and Samsung—vendors find themselves at a crossroads to adjust accordingly to capture growth opportunity and mindshare."
Xiaomi and Fitbit continued to occupy the first and second spots in total wearables shipments during the quarter, ending in a statistical tie with 3.6 million shipments and 13.7 percent of the market share each. However, Xiaomi and Fitbit both saw their year over year figures decline (3.3 percent and 33 percent, respectively). Apple, which came in third with 2.7 million shipments 10.3 percent market share), was up 52.4 percent year over year; and Huawei, 1.6 million units (6 percent market share), was up 156.4 percent year over year.
"Along with a change in the types of devices being sold, there's also in a change in where the devices are being sold," Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in the statement. "Traditional tech outlets still play a huge role in distribution but companies like Fossil and Movado are pushing forth fashion-oriented channels. Meanwhile, Apple's recent introduction of cellular connectivity, and Samsung's longstanding relationship with telcos are also helping provide an uplift to sales and awareness of wearables."