Wearable Technology Market Grows 3.1% in Third Quarter

The wearable technology market grew by 3.1% year-over-year in the third quarter even as smartwatch sales took a tumble, researcher IDC said in a report on Monday.

So-called basic wearables, mostly comprised of fitness bands, accounted for 85% of the market, the company said. The increase in sales year-over-year was attributed to the launch of newer models and an expanded user base, according to IDC. Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst at IDC, said the market is undergoing a shift toward fitness trackers and away from smartwatches.

Fitbit (FIT) led the way, shipping 5.3 million units, an 11% year-over-year jump, IDC said. Xiaomi shipped 3.8 million units, a 4% increase, and Garmin (GRMN) sold 1.3 million fitness wearables, up 12%, the company said. Apple (AAPL) watches, on the other hand, sold 1.1 million units, down 71% year-over year, though Samsung shipped 1 million units, up 90%, according to IDC.

Fitbit accounted for 23% of the market share, Xiaomi 17%, Garmin 5.7%, Apple 4.9% and Samsung took 4.5% of market share. Other companies accounted for 45%, IDC said.

“Where smartwatches were once expected to take the lead, basic wearables now reign supreme,” Ubrani said in a statement. “Simplicity is a driving factor and this is well reflected in the top vendor list as four out of five offer a simple, dedicated fitness device. Meanwhile, from a design perspective, many devices are focusing on fashion first while allowing the technology to blend in with the background.”

By BDL Contributor