Global shipments of fitness trackers, smartwatches and other wearables totaled 32 million units in Q3 2018 according to the latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker from the International Data Corporation (IDC). This represents an impressive 21.7% increase on the same period last year. Xiaomi overtook Apple during the three month period to snatch the top spot.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
We saw a plethora of new products from the likes of Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung and Huawei during the quarter. Growth was further driven by the expanding Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) market. The region accounted for more than half of shipments in Q3, a 21.4% year-on-year rise. The US, which was the second largest market, saw a 0.4% decline. This is because the market in the country is becoming saturated, relying more on replacement devices and upgrades rather than new users.
“The wearables market benefits from geographic differences,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team.
“China – the largest market for wearables and more than double the size of the U.S. market – has grown thanks to strong device development and experimentation, low-cost products, and strong demand for basic devices to draw in new users. Meanwhile, the U.S. market – while slowing down – presents an opportunity for vendors to offer more featured and higher-priced devices to current users and possibly to recapture old ones.
Rather surprisingly, the basic wearables category put in a strong performance. In previous quarters it was largely the smartwatch category that was fueling the market.
Xiaomi took over the top position registering a staggering 90% year-on-year growth in shipments. The combination of the launch of Mi Band 3 and international expansion helped the Chinese tech giant overtake Apple. Only 61% of Xiaomi shipments were domestic during the three month period, compared to over 80% in previous quarters.
The Cupertino outfit captured 13.1% of the wearables pie, shipping some 4.2 million units. This was up on 2.7 million units in the third quarter last year. The outfit launched the Series 4 Watch in September, but this accounted for only 20% of its shipments. Series 3 was the star performer, no doubt helped by a fall in its price.
Versa, Charge 3 and Ace helped Fitbit retain the third spot. Its latest crop of devices are also helping to slow the steady loss in market share its been seeing in recent years. The 3.1% fall in shipments during the quarter represents a significant improvement on its 21.3% decline in Q2.
Huawei and Samsung rounded out the top five helping to squeeze out Garmin, Q2’s 5th place finisher. Samsung, in particular, showed strong growth, no doubt helped by the launch of its Galaxy Watch.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!