Wearable Growth Slows In Q1 2018, Users Opt For Smarter Tech

IDC has released its latest report on quarterly and yearly wearable trends, noting what appears to be a loss in market momentum alongside customers choosing "smarter" options over budget or basic devices. With such a massive number of companies taking part in the industry, the top five are still outweighed by the rest. Apple, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Huawei, and Garmin took a collective 49.7-percent of the overall market, compared to "others" at 50.3-percent. However, that latter number is actually down from 52.1-percent year-over-year in Q1 2018, with an annual drop in growth of around 2.3-percent. Simultaneously, the global growth in wearables shipments in the quarter fell in at just 1.2-percent compared to last year's growth of around 18-percent, year-over-year. In total, the entire market grew to land at around 25.1 million wearables shipped from last year's 24.8 million.

IDC attributes that to a nearly 10-percent drop in the sales of basic wearables, as the top companies and those selling more capable wearables saw an average growth of 28.4-percent. For those top brands and top-selling devices, that can be chalked up to newer sensors and better algorithms. That's in addition to advancements in terms of medical-related functionality, with some wearables now being able to track and predict health problems. Moreover, around one-third of all wearables offer cellular connectivity now, giving buyers a wider range of uses. Smartwatches also continue to dominate the market, with 95-percent of Q1 2018 shipments, but connected clothing is actually catching up. That latter category saw a growth of 58.6-percent from last year, covered mostly by shoes, shorts, and shirts with step and fitness tracking sensors built in.

With regard to the top 5 competitors in the space, Huawei saw the largest growth in shipments, year-over-year. In combination with its subsidiary Honor, the Chinese tech giant lept up by 147-percent to capture 5.2-percent of the market in Q1 2018. With 1.3 million units shipped, that places it in fourth overall. Apple took the top slot, moving 4 million units and growing its market share from last year by 13.5-percent. Xiaomi's growth rate, meanwhile, landed at around 2.3-percent with 3.7 million wearables shipped. That places the company in second place, while third place Fitbit and its 2.2 million units shipped was the only company to experience negative growth annually by 28.1-percent. With 1.3-million units shipped and a growth rate of  9.1-percent year-over-year, Garmin rounds out the top five.

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