The global wearable market grew some 5.5-percent in the second quarter of the year, recording close to 28 million shipments, according to the latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The observed increase was almost solely driven by emerging markets, whereas North America, Western Europe, and Japan recorded a 6.3-percent annual decline in terms of shipments, as per the same study. As smartwatches continue to gain traction and often do so at the expense of more affordable fitness trackers, the overall value of the global wearable market is currently estimated to be sitting at some $4.8 billion, up 8.3-percent year-over-year.
IDC analysts believe the stagnation and decline in developed markets such as North America are not troubling signs but simply side effects of a product transition those regions are currently going through. With electronics manufacturers being expected to soon debut significant wearable innovations powered by next-generation chips, more consumers are likely to start looking into the product category once again moving forward, whether to upgrade their old gadgets or purchase their very first ones. The next major innovation wave in the industry should make wearables smarter and more proactive, positioning them as integral parts of wider digital ecosystems.
IDC points to the example of Fitbit and some Chinese device makers as evidence that the smartwatch market is still spacious enough to accommodate new players and has the potential to act as the main wearable growth engine in the long term. Apple, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Huawei, and Garmin remained the world's five largest wearable vendors in Q2 2018, in that order. Combined, they held over 46-percent of the global market, leaving the rest of the industry to fight for scraps. Samsung is one notable omission from IDC's list as the South Korean tech giant is currently estimated to be the sixth largest wearable company on the planet by shipments, though its prospects remain doubtful as Garmin continues to build its lead over it.