Wearables Shipments Rise 21%
December 4, 2018
Global shipments of wearable devices
reached 32.0 million units in the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18), up 21.7%
from the previous year according to data from the International Data
Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. New
products from the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, and Huawei helped the basic
wearables category return to growth during the quarter. Another driving
factor was growing demand in markets like Asia/Pacific (excluding
Japan), which accounted for more than half of all shipments and grew
21.4% over the previous year. Meanwhile, the second largest market, the
United States, saw its year-over-year growth decline 0.4% 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% of Xiaomi's shipment volume, this quarter that share fell to 61% 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% 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 differentiators in the market.
Huawei finished just ahead of Samsung to maintain its number four position worldwide, emphasizing 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 of 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.