Worldwide wearable device shipments grew 1.2 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2018, a lower growth than registered in the same period of 2017, due to a slowdown in volumes for basic units, research company IDC said.
Shipments of basic bands declined 9.2 per cent year-on-year, while “higher priced smart wearables” grew 28.4 per cent. In total, 25.1 million units were shifted during the recent period.
Other research outfits have already highlighted the value in the smart wearable space is shifting.
Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers said: “Additional sensors, years of underlying data, and improved algorithms are allowing pillars of the industry like Fitbit and Apple to help identify diseases and other health irregularities. Meanwhile, roughly one third of all wearables included cellular connectivity in this quarter, which has allowed new use-cases to emerge.”
While watches and wrist bands accounted for 95 per cent of shipments during Q1 2018, there was growth in other sectors: “Sensor-laden clothing” grew 58.6 per cent year-on-year, with the majority of these being step-counting shoes, IDC stated.
And while the top spots in the market were taken by some well-known brands, “beyond the market leaders is a long list of other vendors forging their own path in the wearables market” Ramon Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team, said.
“While health and fitness remain the key value proposition behind many of these devices, a closer look reveals hearables that feature coaching, audio modification and language translation, other wrist-worn devices focusing on personal safety, and connected watches for children.”
Shipments of Apple Watch grew 13.5 per cent year-on-year, as the vendor pushed its cellular-connected Watch into additional markets – opening a new revenue stream for operators. By outgrowing the market, the company increased its share to 16.1 per cent from 14.3 per cent.
Xiaomi took second place, with a 14.8 per cent unit shipment share. But the low cost of its devices means it also only captured 1.8 per cent of the dollar value of the market, which is an “important distinction”.
Third-placed Fitbit’s shipments declined, although its Versa watch enjoyed some early success. IDC said more than 2 million users have already taken a look at its new female health monitoring features, as the company remains focused on health and wellness.
Huawei took fourth place, as it used its Honor sub-brand to target younger users.