Garmin the Only Brand Gaining in Struggling Smartwatch World

Garmin Fenix Chronos 8

The smartwatch market has been, for some, an uninspiring and expensive world of gadgets that seem unnecessary and generally not worth it. As people continue to gravitate to fitness trackers that have a little something extra to offer, the expensive smartwatch now appears overpriced and, perhaps, overkill. Brands such as Fitbit have been experimenting with devices that bridge the gap between smartwatches as fitness trackers, but one brand many might not see as a threat to both Fitbit and smartwatches overall, is Garmin. The firm has been experimenting with their VivoFit and VivoSmart devices for a couple of years now, and has given Fitbit more than a few reasons to look over their shoulder. Now, they’re doing the same to the smartwatch market.

Earlier this week, new shipment data from IDC came along, which painted a grim picture for the smartwatch market overall. In that report, it was Apple, Garmin and Samsung that made up the top three, which should be surprising in itself, with Apple far in the lead with 41 percent market share during the Q3 2016 figures, but Garmin managed to gain 20.15 percent of the market in Q3 2016. To put things into perspective, that’s a year-on-year increase of 324.2 percent. With the Forerunner and VivoActive line of smartwatches available for those that want something with fitness-focused features, without a price to match the Apple Watch, it’s perhaps not surprising that Garmin have leapfrogged the competition, but it should serve as a warning to many of them.

As Lenovo, with the Moto 360 line, and the Pebble struggle to take home more than just 3 percent of the market, it’s possible that Android Wear as well as other brands will struggle to become competitive in 2017. Talking about Android Wear specifically, the Version 2.0 update was supposed to be a big update that would drive sales for the Holiday season, but a delay into 2017 has put the platform effectively on pause, as major brands like Huawei, Motorola and LG decide to hold off on launching another Android Wear smartwatch. Other brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors and Nixon are happy to fill in the gap, but it’s clear that 2017 is going to be a tough year for smartwatches all round.