Published: Sun, March 05, 2017
Technology | By Timothy Carter

Global wearables sales soar 17% in Q4 - IDC

Global wearables sales soar 17% in Q4 - IDC

The year came to a close with 102.4 million devices shipped.

Those numbers are substantial, yet the biggest player in the market, Fitbit, is losing market share.

Fitbit, which continued to lead the segment with 19.2 percent market share, witnessed 22.7 percent drop in unit shipments to 6.5 million in the December quarter.

Despite a decline in the number of units shipped, Fitbit still leads with a market share of 19.2 percent, which is a 9.8 percent decrease from the same quarter a year ago. Smartwatch sales were down - with AAPL doing worse than most - and some analysts were calling for a miserable Q4.

"Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications", stated Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's wearables team.

IDC says this is a result of new vendors entering the market and previous champions refreshing their product lineups.

An annual growth of 25pc in the wearables market was largely driven by devices with limited functionality - fitness trackers are the future. Then superior smartphones came in, but now it is the next step - the era of smart wearables.

"Health and fitness remains a major focus, but once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available", he said.

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IDC estimates that Apple Watch shipments totaled 10.7 million in 2016 for an estimated 10.5% market share, down from an estimated 11.6 million shipments and 14.2% market share in 2015.

"This presents an opportunity to sell multiple wearables to a single consumer under the guise of 'fashion.' But more importantly, it helps build an ecosystem and helps vendors provide consumers with actionable insights thanks to the large amounts of data collected behind the scenes".

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