Is time running out on smartwatches?
If you haven’t noticed many people wearing smartwatches, there’s a good reason for that. Shipments of the wearable devices fell 51.6 percent in the third quarter year-over-year, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
In its report, IDC pointed to some mitigating factors. The first Apple Watches were widely available during the whole of the third quarter in 2015 while the newest version of the device was only released with a couple of weeks left in October this year. Two other companies expected to release smart watches — Google and Samsung — have yet to do so. Google has pulled back on Android Wear 2.0 and Samsung has not yet debuted the Gear3, which it announced last month.
“It has also become evident that, at present, smartwatches are not for everyone,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. “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.”
Apple, which is the leader in smartwatches worldwide with a 70.2 percent share, saw its shipments fall 71.6 percent in the third quarter.
Samsung, which is second with a 6.4 percent share, saw shipments of its Gear2 increase nine percent.
Garmin, which has focused entirely on fitness and health with its devices, saw shipments climb 324.2 percent during the quarter. The company is currently fifth among smartwatch makers with a 2.3 percent share.
In related news, Fossil launched 40 new Q smartwatch hybrids across brands, including Armani, Diesel, Kate Spade and Michael Kors, in addition to its namesake brand. The devices are designed to look just like traditional watches. To open the smart portion of the watch requires an app, which allows the wearer access to functions (depending on the model), such as receiving notifications, counting steps, tracking sleep, controlling music and taking a photo.
- Smartwatch Market Declines 51.6% in the Third Quarter as Platforms and Vendors Realign, IDC Finds – International Data Corporation/Business Wire
- Meet The New Fossil Q Hybrid Smartwatches – Fossil Group, Inc.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see IDC’s shipments report as a blip on the screen for smartwatches or an omen of rougher times ahead? What will it take for smartwatches to become widely popular among U.S. consumers?