First Quarter Shipments Of Wearable Devices Surge 67 Percent Compared To Last Year
Based on the latest quarterly report published by market research firm IDC, the total volume of wearable device shipments increased to 19.7 million units during the first quarter of this year. This year’s numbers are a major improvement over last year’s, wherein 11.8 million units of wearable devices were shipped during the first three months of 2015.
According to IDC, wearables’ impressive showing during the first quarter of 2016 was made possible by various key strategies that really paid off in getting more people to purchase smartwatches, fitness bands, and other wearable devices. Take smartwatch devices and fitness trackers, for instance -- the fact that a relatively wide range of these gadgets were showcased in various tech shows and international events really heightened people’s awareness of new generation wearable devices. Moreover, the decision of several companies to lower the price of their wearable device offerings after the holiday season allowed more consumers to snatch up these devices. It certainly helped that wearables expanded during the last few months, and now already includes smart clothing and even smart footwear.
But make no mistake about it -- wearable devices are still far from being mainstream products. However, the significant increase in shipment volume indicates that more and more mobile users are finding uses for these devices. Among wearables, fitness trackers (such as those made by Fitbit and Garmin) have typically sold better than smartwatch devices. However, all signs indicate that the popularity smartwatches is really beginning to grow, especially in terms of market share. Interestingly, smartwatch devices are improving their market share without cutting into the actual shipments of fitness trackers, something which various industry watchers are saying is proof that there is plenty of room in the industry for both wearable devices to flourish.
As explained by Jitesh Ubrani, the senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, fitness trackers and smartwatches can accommodate each other because they both have adequate features that set each type apart from the other, while at the same time, leave some space to grow into their respective own niche without jeopardizing each other’s chances.
Among manufacturers of wearable devices, Fitbit is still the clear number one. The fitness band maker was able to ship 4.8 million units during the last quarter, an increase from the 3.8 million units it shipped one year ago. On second place is Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi, which shipped 3.7 million units during the first quarter of this year, up from 2.6 million units last year. As for Apple? There were 1.5 million units of the Apple Watch shipped in the first three months of 2016, a drop from the 4.1 million units shipped during the final quarter of 2015.