The worldwide smartwatch market experienced a round of growing pains in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), resulting in a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes. According to data from the International Data Corporation in November, total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6 percent from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15.
Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.
“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.”
“It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity. However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we’re starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices.”
(For more information, visit: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41875116)