Wearable device shipments from Chinese vendors grew 13.2% sequentially and 81.4% year-on-year to 9.54 million during the second quarter of 2016, according to IDC.
Sales of basic wearable devices such as wristbands, children’s watches and smart running shoes grew by 92.1%, while smart wearables led by smart watches were up by 3.4% from a year earlier.
IDC said the rapid growth in China’s wearable device market has largely been due to local vendors’ ability to adapt quickly and cultivate new market segments.
“Unlike basic wearable products in overseas markets where fitness tracking is their main function, basic wearable devices in China are of much richer product forms and offer more functionality. This has enabled the fast expansion of China’s basic wearable device market,” said Jean Xiao, Research Manager at IDC China.
“Meanwhile, unlike their international counterparts, Chinese vendors have a more profound understanding of local market segments. Cost-effective products and precisely targeted marketing and sales strategies appeal to Chinese consumers more easily."
IDC noted that vendors focused initially on improving the hardware performance of their products. However, after the market took shape in 2015, they gradually shifted their focus towards developing wearable device applications and software platforms.
The top three Chinese vendors of wearable devices in the second quarter were Xiaomi (with a market share of 30.1%), Lifesense (10.8%), and Okii (9.2%).
"Having withstood the test of fierce competition in the rapidly expanding home market, Chinese wearable device vendors represented by Xiaomi, Lifesense and Okii have accumulated considerable strengths in product functionality, software technology and channel strategy and have become a force to be reckoned with in the global wearable device market,“ Xiao said.
Meanwhile, emerging wearable device startups represented by Mobvoi and Bong have also started to win their place in overseas markets.
Following the pioneering launch of public transit payment wristbands in 2015, payment has also now become an indispensable function of Chinese-made wearable devices.
“Whether it is payment through NFC or by way of QR code scanning on APP installed on smartwatches, by supporting mobile payment on wearable devices Chinese vendors have become both pioneers and bellwethers in the wearable payment field,” IDC said.