Apple on track to dominate wearables market

RetailTech Innovation editors
RetailTech Innovation

About two of every three smart wearables shipped in the second quarter this year was an Apple Watch, according to IDC.

Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter, just 800,000 units behind Fitbit's 4.4 million, the research firm's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker shows.

Total shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1 million units, up 223.2% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 2Q14.

"Apple has clearly garnered an impressive lead in this space and its dominance is expected to continue. And, although Fitbit out shipped Apple, it's worth noting that Fitbit only sells basic wearables – a category that is expected to lose share over the next few years, leaving Apple poised to become the next market leader for all wearables,” saidJitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC mobile device trackers.

The research firm noted that in the short history of the wearable market, a clear divide has formed between smart wearables and basic wearables (devices that do not run third-party applications, and includes most fitness trackers).

Price and functionality are the main differences between the two categories and that gap is expected to widen over time.

“For vendors focused on basic wearables, the challenge will be to compete with the additional features offered by smart wearables while still turning a profit in the price sensitive basic wearables market,” IDC said.

Market leader Fitbit's 2Q15 results reads as a list of successes: triple-digit year-over-year worldwide volume growth; double-digit year-over-year worldwide revenue and profit growth; expanded partnerships with corporate wellness groups, fashion, and food companies; and increased visibility in the media.

“Fitbit resonates with customers because it has remained true to its simple value proposition of tracking fitness to encourage healthier lifestyles rather than promising the multi-purpose functionality that most smart watches have sought,” IDC said.

Meanwhile, Apple's first appearance in the wearables market finds it in the number 2 position overall, and well within reach of market leader Fitbit.

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