A new IDC report reveals that Chinese manufacturers are making significant inroads as leading wearable device vendors with volume shipments continuing to ramp significantly. Global shipment volume for wearables in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15) totaled 21 million units, up 197.6 percent from 7.1 million units shipped in 3Q14, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.
The report finds Chinese vendor Xiaomi finished 3Q15 as a contender for Apple’s number two ranking, and newcomer XTC usurped Samsung as the number five ranked wearables vendor. The top five wearable device vendors in Q315 are Fitbit, Apple, Xiaomi, Garmin, and XTC, a subsidiary of BBK.
"The early stages of the wearables market have led to tight competition among the leading vendors, and Chinese vendors have seized upon market momentum to grab market share," said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, in a statement.
"China has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing wearables market, attracting companies eager to compete on price and feature sets. In addition, multiple vendors have experimented with a broad range of products and applications. The challenge, however, is whether these vendors can expand their presence, as few have extended beyond the country's borders and into other markets,” he added.
Despite growth of smartwatches with vendors such as Apple, Motorola, Pebble, and Samsung, the report finds interest in fitness trackers hasn’t slowed. By the end of 3Q15, shipment volumes for both product categories increased sequentially and year over year, said IDC, providing end users with a variety of features and functionalities, ranging from simple fitness tracking to smartphone-like experiences.
The same is true for pricing. "The average smart watch or band came in at just over $400 and the average basic watch/band at $94,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “This leaves a lot of room for new players like Fossil and niche players like Pebble as they have an opportunity to address this space."
- Fitbit relied on its popular Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Surge models to maintain its leadership in the worldwide wearables market, and also saw continued growth within the Asia/Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) markets. Equally noteworthy has been its fast-growing Corporate Wellness strategy during the quarter, which added North American retailer Target and its order of 335,000 fitness trackers for its employees. Target joins Bank of America, Time Warner, and more than 70 other Fortune 500 companies to deploy Fitbit devices to its employees.
- Apple posted a slight increase from the previous quarter, mostly the result of additional markets and channels coming on line. End-user attention has been going toward its entry-level and least expensive Sport line, to which Apple responded by introducing gold and rose gold models. In addition, Apple released watchOS 2, bringing native third-party applications to the device.
- Xiaomi's inexpensive Mi Band buoyed volumes higher during the quarter, with more than 97% of its volumes shipping into China. Volumes outside of China remain limited, although progress has been made in Western markets. Adding to Xiaomi's selection is its Mi Band Pulse, which added real-time heart rate monitoring and was released on Singles Day (November 11) in China.
- Garmin's focus on citizen athletes with wearables for running, golf, swimming, hiking, and aquatics kept the company well entrenched as the clear number four vendor worldwide. With a deep and broad product portfolio and multiple price points, Garmin has been well-positioned to cover numerous market segments and address the rising fitness tracker category with its Vivo sub-brand of bands and watches.
- Chinese vendor XTC, a subsidiary of BBK, beat Samsung for the number five position by 100,000 units in its worldwide debut. Like other Chinese vendors before it, XTC maintained its focus exclusively within China, and with just one device: the Y01, a children's phone watch.