Global wearables sales soar 17% in Q4 - IDC

Mar 05, 2017, 00:32

"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", said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team.

The wearables market is growing, but even more significantly, it is shifting.

As a result, growth in the wearables sector may increasingly be driven by other regions, and by products which are either cheaper, such as those Xiaomi sells, or which offer something different, such as smart clothing and ear-worn devices like the Xperia Ear, both of which are also on the rise. However, "once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available".

"This will also solve another key issue: freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience".

USA company Fitbit sold 22.5 million wearable devices in 2016, accounting for 22 percent of the global total. Year-over-year, Fitbit's 4Q unit shipments dropped 22.7%, however.

Garmin, another major player in the wearable market had a slight fall by 4 per cent but is still holding a strong hold of the market and has 6.2 per cent market share in the last quarter of 2016. The consensus estimate among Wall Street analysts was that Apple sold 4.9 million watches in the holiday sales quarter.

However, there's been a shift in the focus of the devices themselves.

Apple Watch was expected to dominate a nascent wearables industry when it was launched two years ago, bringing the limited functionality of the standard device in the sector to a whole new level. Xiaomi is the big mover this time around, seeing a year-over-year growth of about 96.2%. IDC said low-priced competitors were eating away at its share.

Despite Xiaomi's high growth on shipment, IDC claimed that Xiaomi still lacks the expertise and brand recognition to expand beyond its native borders in China.

In contrast, the shipments of wearable's all across the world have experienced an increase of approximately 17% during the fourth quarter of FY16, mainly led by Chinese tech giant, Xiaomi and the Cupertino giant, Apple, as per the market research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC).

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