Wearables Shipments Swell as Consumer Tastes Shift

Release time:2017-06-06
source:EE Times

Worldwide shipments of wearable devices surged by nearly 18 percent in the first quarter as both the high-end Apple Watch and a slew of low-cost devices gained traction among consumers, according to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).

Apple Inc. and Xiaomi Inc. have surpassed Fitbit Inc.—the early leader in wearables shipments—and now control nearly 15 percent of the market apiece, IDC (Framingham, Mass.).

Ramon Llamas, research man ager for IDC's Wearables team, said through a press statement that consumer tastes in wearables have evolved from fitness bands to smartwatches and other products, fueling growth for the product category.

"This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide," Llamas said. "Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position."

Companies shipped 24.7 million wearable devices in the first quarter, up from 20.9 million in the first quarter of last year, according to IDC's wearables market tracker.

Llamas said Fitbit remains a key player in the wearables market despite being outpaced by Apple and Xiaomi in recent quarters.

"With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets," Llamas said.

Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst for IDC, said the wearables market is still arguably in its first phase of development, where companies are seeding the market and trying to get consumers accustomed to wearing a device.

Earlier this year, Llamas said the wearables market is shifting and would enjoy a very strong 2017 thanks to the addition of cellular connectivity in wearable devices and a slew of new products on the market, including fashionable watches that resemble more classic wristwatches as opposed to high-tech devices.

Source: IDC
Source: IDC

Ubrani said the current market wearables opportunity makes it very enticing for traditional and fashion watch brands,

Ubrani said the second phase of development of the wearables market would be all about putting the user data accumulated by wearables to good use.

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Shipments of wearable electronics devices are projected to more than double over the next five years as watches displace fitness trackers as the biggest sellers, according to market research firm IDC. IDC forecasts that wearables shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 18.4 percent between 2017 and 2021, rising from 113.2 million this year to 222.3 million in 2021. The firm expects shipments of watches — both "smart" and "basic" — to grow from 61.5 million units to 149.5 million units as more vendors — particularly fashion brands — and built-in cellular connectivity drive up their popularity. Meanwhile, fitness trackers such as Fitbit Charge and Xiaomi Mi Band — which were the leading types of wearable devices in the early years of the product category — are expected to become commodity products and post unit growth in low single digit percentages, according to the firm.   Ramon T. Llamas "Tomorrow's wearables will become more fully featured and multi-functional, spanning health and fitness to communication and productivity," said Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearablesteam, in a press statement. "Effectively, that will make today's wearables seem quaint, and spur upgrades and replacements." According to Llamas, electronics firms will also introduce a wider array of smart wearable products in the years to come. Items like earphones and clothing — "the original wearable" — will become smarter, adding things like health and fitness tracking.
2017-12-26 00:00 reading:428
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