Despite a decline in shipments for one of the largest vendors, the overall market for wearable devices grew 26.1% year over year as new use cases are slowly starting to emerge. Shipments of wearable devices reached 22.5 million in the second quarter of 2016 (2Q/16).
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker says while the overall wearables market grew during 2Q/16, its two categories traveled at different speeds and directions. Basic wearables (devices that do not support third party applications) grew 48.8% from 2Q/15 levels while smart wearables (devices that support third party applications) declined 27.2% year over year.
Basic wearables accounted for 82.8% of all wearable devices shipped during the quarter, and more vendors continue to enter this space. The danger, however, is that most devices end up being copycats of others, making it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
Fitbit’s dominance remains unchallenged for now as the company’s name is synonymous with fitness bands. The latest Charge 2 and Flex 2 are indicative that the company is growing up, giving form and function equal importance. Fitbit’s recent accquistition in the mobile payments arena should also help ensure success in the longer term.
Xiaomi Mi Bands remain extremely popular in China. In every technology market, Xiaomi has focused on the value conscious consumers, and that trend continues. The recent launch of the Mi Band 2 includes heart rate tracking and still maintains a price below $20 USD. The challenge for Xiaomi, however, is growing beyond China’s borders and onto the global stage.
Apple was the only vendor among the market leaders to post a year-over-year decrease in shipment volumes, primarily because it did not launch a new model on the anniversary of its first generation Watch. 2Q16 was the first full quarter of Apple’s reduced price strategy on the Sport model, which slightly helped the company rebound from its post-holiday slump.
Garmin’s vertical integration and constant expansion of the ConnectIQ app store have allowed the company to slowly expand its channel presence and gain consumer mindshare. While it remains focused on fitness enthusiasts and athletes, the latest design of the Fenix Chronos will certainly help broaden its appeal to the masses.
This is the first time Lifesense has broken into the top five on the strength of by its low-cost Mambo fitness trackers shipping into China. It also connects with WeChat, an immensely popular messaging service in China, to share data with others without having to log into a separate application.
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