Significant drop in smartwatch sales in Q3 as market awaits new products

Its becoming increasingly clear smartwatches are not for everyone. The latest International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report shows sales volumes experienced another dip in Q3, and are now well down on last year.

The 2.7 million units shipped in Q3 represents a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in the same quarter last year. The fall is not entirely surprising as Q3 2015 coincides with the launch of the first generation Apple Watch. The second generation device was only available in the last two weeks of Q3 2016.

“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team.

“Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers.”

Despite the 72% decline in shipments, Apple has managed to hold on to its top spot in the rankings. It has also become the second most popular watchmaker in the world over the past year, only behind Rolex.

The past has thought us, the second generation of an Apple product is always a big step up from the first one. While the Cupertino company didn’t deliver a significant design refresh this year, new components in Apple Watch Series 2 make it better, while software upgrades makes it smarter and more useful. You finally have a better reason to want an Apple Watch. The Cupertino company should be heading for a significant rebound in Q4 2016.

significant drop in smartwatch sales in q3 as market awaits new products - Significant drop in smartwatch sales in Q3 as market awaits new products

Garmin saw the largest increase of all vendors during the past year thanks to a number of new devices launched in 2016. IDC says, growth was also a result of Garmin’s clear focus on health and fitness rather than an creating multi-purpose devices. Samsung also saw a slight increase due to strong sales of its aging Gear S2 smartwatches. The company introduced its follow-up, the Gear S3, but it has yet to be released to the market. Lenovo and Pebble rounded off the top 5 list, with 100,000 units shipped apiece.

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