Smartwatches Are Now the Dominant Wearable Study Says

The consolidation of the wearables market, shaped by consumers and their wallets, has been happening for a while now. And the upshot of that winnowing has included the demise of developers specializing solely in jewelry wearables; smart earrings, necklaces, and bracelets don’t prominently exist anymore, aside from those produced by connected jewelry brand Ringly

What we’ve been left with is fitness trackers/bands, pioneered by Fitbit, and smartwatches—a category that’s still led by Apple and its Apple Watch.

But the winnowing of wearables continues, according to a new study from the International Data Corp. And fitness trackers are the category’s latest victim.

Wearables shipments grew only 1.2 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2018—compared to the 18 percent year-over-year growth the category enjoyed in the first quarter of 2017. And it’s due to the drop in sales of fitness trackers. Smartwatches actually made a killing—sales for connected timepieces soared by 28.4 percent year over year in the first quarter. Conversely, fitness trackers saw a 9.3 percent decline in year-over-year sales.

The study also distilled the top five wearable companies of the first quarter, in terms of shipment share. They are:

Shipments of the Apple Watch grew 13.5 percent in the first quarter over the previous year “as the launch of a cellular connected Watch entered additional markets,” reads the study. Apple’s growth “has outpaced the entire market”—in case we hadn’t noticed.

The Chinese developer captured 14.8 percent of the total shipments in the first quarter, but only 1.8 percent of the dollar value of the entire market—because its products are so low-priced.

Fitbit ranked third in shipments in the first quarter, despite a decline of 28.1 percent (due to the drop in fitness tracker sales). But its new smartwatch, Versa, has begun to catch on, mainly due to its lower-than-Apple price.

The Asian brand came in fourth in the first quarter, having developed popular smartwatches, kids’ watches, fitness trackers, and ear-worn devices.

GPS-centric Garmin came in fifth place, having captured a 5 percent share in the first quarter (up slightly from its 4.6 percent share a year ago).

Top: Apple Watch Series 3 


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JCK Senior Editor

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