Fitness bands continue to outsell smartwatches
Wearable devices are showing no signs of slowing down as analyst house IDC reports the market for smartwatches and fitness band grew by 26 percent in 2016’s second quarter.
Many wearables vendors, such as Fitbit and Gamin saw strong growth in the second quarter. But Apple saw sales of the Apple Watch decline by a hefty 56.7 percent, indicating that interest in Cupertino’s smartwatch is either waning or people are waiting for an as yet unannounced Apple Watch 2 to be revealed.
The growth for Fitbit and Garmin wearables is not surprising according to Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers division, though that could change.
“Fitness is the low-hanging fruit for wearables,” he said. “However, the market is evolving, and we’re starting to see consumers adopt new functionality, such as communication and mobile payments, while enterprises warm to wearables’ productivity potential.”
Trackers versus smartwatches
IDC’s figures show that simple fitness trackers offering no third-party app support are currently the most appealing wearables for consumers, particularly in China where its native tech giant Xiaomi is focusing on producing affordable fitness trackers at a price below $20.
While smartwatches garner attention, and the likes of the Apple Watch went some way to build up their appeal beyond niche items, they have yet to become a must have item.
“Smart wearables, meanwhile, are still struggling to find their place in the market,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC’s wearables research manager. “The good news is that smart wearables are still in their initial stages, and vendors are slowly making strides to improve them. But this also means that it will be a slow transition from basic wearables to smart wearables.”
Samsung recently revealed a brace of new smartwatches for its Gear range and Google is rumoured to be working on two new smartwatches codenamed Swordfish and Angelfish.
Apple is set to have a major launch event this evening where the iPhone 7 is expected to be revealed, but the company could also announce the Apple Watch 2, which could invigorate sales of its smartwatch.
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