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Apple leads the smart wearables market as overall segment growth slows

Apple leads the smart wearables market as overall segment growth slows
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Apple is the number one manufacturer of smart wearable devices in the world with a market share of 16.1 percent, according to a new report by IDC. The world’s most valuable company shipped 4 million units of its wearable devices – entirely made up of its popular Apple Watch series – in Q1 2018, up from 3.6 million in Q1 2017, to take the lead in the global wearables market. According to the IDC report, a total of 25.1 million smart wearable devices were shipped globally in Q1 2018, registering a small growth of 1.2 percent over the 24.8 million units shipped in the same quarter of last year.

The top-five brands in smart wearables control just under 50 percent of the market, while all other brands combined control about 50.3 percent of the space. Making up the top-five in Q1 2018 behind Apple are Xiaomi, Fitbit, Huawei, and Garmin. While overall growth for the other players has been slow, Apple’s cellular connected Apple Watch has driven growth for the company.

In the top-five, Huawei’s growth has been the most rapid, as the company increased its market share from 2.1 percent to 5.2 percent year-on-year. The dual-brand strategy of using Huawei to cater to the premium segment and Honor to cater to the affordable segment has worked well for the company, as it registered a 147 percent year-on-year growth for the quarter.

Interestingly, Xiaomi controls only 1.8 percent of the market’s value in terms of revenue, despite controlling close to 15 percent of the shipments. This is because of the low cost of Xiaomi’s wearables range; the company’s affordable fitness trackers are targeted at entry-level users, and Xiaomi does not manufacture any premium wearables. The company recently launched its Mi Band 3, which is priced at RMB 169 (approximately Rs 1,800).

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Garmin and Fitbit round off the top-five as the largely fitness-focused brands on the list. While Garmin sees some growth in shipments, Fitbit has seen a huge drop. Notably, Samsung is missing from the top five, despite being a leading smart wearables manufacturer. Watches and wristbands accounted for 95 percent of all wearable shipments, with the remain made up by sensor-laden clothing and shoes.




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