Apple retains its lead at the top of the wearables tree, says IDC

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Apple remains the strongest vendor in the wearables space with market-beating results – but the overall market is seeing an uptick thanks to strong figures in emerging markets.

The Cupertino giant holds 17% of the overall market share, up from 13% this time last year, with 4.7 million shipments this quarter and year over year growth of 38.4%, according to the latest figures from IDC.

Xiaomi retains second place with 4.2 million shipments this quarter and a total share of 15.1%, representing 19.8% growth year on year. Fitbit has seen a yearly downturn, from 3.4m shipments in Q217 to 2.7m in 2018, yet still retains third place in the market, while Huawei, from 800,000 to 1.8m units sold year over year, is in fourth with 6.5% market share.

Despite Fitbit’s slowdown, IDC praises the release of Versa, which has enabled the company to ‘successfully expand its userbase’, while its active targeting of the commercial market is another potential area of differentiation. Back in April, Fitbit announced plans to leverage Google Cloud, and in particular its Cloud Healthcare API. As this publication put it at the time, it appeared to be a move from the company back to its health roots.

The continued theme underlying the wearables market is one of differentiation; for Q3 of 2017, the theme was around ‘smart wearables’, or devices that were able to run third party applications. Ramon Llamas, research director for IDC’s wearables team, notes an uptick here and a decline in ‘basic’ wearables as forces working together.

“Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smartwatches have met that demand,” said Llamas. “Basic wearables have been in decline over the past several quarters, but that does not mean that they no longer have a place in the market. There still exists multiple market segments who prefer simple and inexpensive wearable devices, and this is where wrist-worn fitness trackers and hybrid watches are finding demand.”

Mature markets – comprising North America, Japan and Western Europe – declined 6.3% year over year, while the combined markets of Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America, grew 14% over the same period. The latter markets are where IDC still sees high demand for the ‘basic’ wristbands, with smartwatches also gaining traction. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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