A report by IDC says that new products from brands including Fitbit, Garmin, and Huawei helped the basic wearables category return to growth during the quarter
The latest report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) says that global shipments of wearable devices reached 32.0 million units in the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18). The figures reflect a 21.7 per cent increase in comparison to shipments made during the previous fiscal.
New products and growing demand for wearables helped in growth
New products from brands including Fitbit, Garmin, and Huawei helped the basic wearables category return to growth during the quarter. Another driving factor, as per IDC, was growing demand in markets like Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), which accounted for more than half of all shipments and grew 21.4 per cent over the previous year.
Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said, “Many of the new basic wearables include features like notifications or simple app integrations that bleed into smartwatch territory. This has helped satiate consumer demand for more capable devices while also maintaining average selling prices in a market that faces plenty of downward pressure from low-cost vendors and declining smartwatch pricing.”
Meanwhile, the United States market’s year-over-year growth declined 0.4 per cent as it transitions from a market driven by new users to one that relies on replacement devices and upgrades.
Top Five Wearables Companies in 3Q18
Xiaomi grabbed the top position during the quarter, thanks to the success of the Mi Band 3 and significant expansion beyond its home country of China. Though typically China accounts for well over 80 per cent of Xiaomi’s shipment volume, this quarter that share fell to 61 per cent as the company managed to grow its presence in other markets such as India, Europe, and Middle East & Africa.
Apple managed to launch its Series 4 Watch, its first watch approved for medical use, towards the end of the quarter. The new design and sizes along with the latest version of Watch OS were welcome changes though the latest series only accounted for less than 20 per cent of all Apple Watch shipments. The reduced price on the still affable Series 3 accounted for the majority of Apple’s shipments during the quarter.
Fitbit’s latest devices, including the Versa, Charge 3, and the Ace, helped the company slow its decline compared to previous quarters. In particular, the success of the Versa has allowed the company to once again become the second largest smartwatch vendor and IDC expects this to continue in the near term. Looking ahead, the company’s focus on improving the quality of sleep for its users will remain one of its core strengths and key differentiator in the market.
Huawei finished just ahead of Samsung to maintain its number four position worldwide, emphasizing on its newest TalkBand B5 series of wristbands. This maintains its unique approach of combining a Bluetooth earpiece with a fitness tracker. Meanwhile, its Honor sub-brand introduced a new set of earphones that tracks heart rate during workouts. Overall, however, the majority of Huawei’s wearable devices remained within its home country, China.
Samsung closed some of the gap with Huawei and stretched its lead past other contenders, capturing the fifth position for the quarter. The company launched its next generation smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch, marking the first time that a wearable device moved away from its traditional “Gear” moniker to the “Galaxy” sub-brand, alongside its smartphones and tablets. Still, Samsung relies on its Gear S3 and its smart Gear Fit wristbands to drive volumes, and its connected wearables posted continued sequential growth.