IDC 3rd Quarter Report Shows Apple a Rising Force in Wearables Market

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IDC 3rd Quarter Report Shows Apple a Rising Force in Wearables Market

IDC's report on wearable device shipments for the third quarter 2017 showed that Apple is coming on strong with Apple Watch while shipments of Fitbit and Xiaomi devices declined from the year-ago quarter. The latest market report gives reason to believe that changing market dynamics will only continue to shift into the Apple Watch maker's favor. However, IDC reported that Huawei's wearable devices shipments also soared during the quarter—a sign that competition will continue to heat up as 2018 unfolds. This slide show covers IDC’s wearable market findings and analyzes what the future looks like for all the major players.

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China’s Xiaomi Leads the Wearables Market

China-based Xiaomi was the wearable market leader during the third quarter, according to IDC. The company shipped 3.6 million units during the period, earning Xiaomi 13.7 percent market share. However, that’s down 3.3 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

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Fitbit Shipments Drop by One Third From a Year Ago

Fitbit tied for the first-place spot during the third quarter with 3.6 million unit shipments. However, the company’s wearable shipments plummeted 33 percent year-over-year from 5.4 million unit shipments during the third quarter of 2016.

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Apple Watch Coming On Strong

Apple Watch nabbed the third spot during the third quarter with 2.7 million unit shipments. That was up 52.4 percent year-over-year and helped Apple capture 10.3 percent market share. In the year-ago quarter, Apple shipped 1.8 million units.

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Huawei's Shipments Grew the Most

Huawei secured the biggest year-over-year growth with shipments of wearables jumping 156.4 percent compared with the third quarter of 2016. Huawei shipped 1.6 million units, which was enough to earn the company 6 percent market share.

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Garmin Tries to Keep Pace

Garmin was the fifth-most-popular wearables maker during the third quarter, shipping 1.3 million wearables and capturing 4.9 percent market share. However, shipments slipped 3.3 percent compared with the third quarter of 2016.

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Wearable Shipments Are on the Rise

Collectively, 26.3 million wearables were shipped worldwide during the third quarter of 2017. That is up 7.3 percent compared with the third quarter of 2016, when 24.5 million wearables were sold into the channel.

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Consumers’ Changing Preferences Is Good News for Apple

According to IDC’s research, consumers’ preferences in wearables are changing. In the early days of the market a few years ago, consumers were buying basic wearable devices and fitness trackers. Now they are buying “multipurpose” wearables, such as the Apple Watch and others, that can not only track a person’s fitness, but also tell the time and run apps. That can only bode well for Apple.

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What Does the Future Hold for Fitbit?

Fitbit is the market leader now, but that might change. The company’s shipments were down 33 percent year over year, mainly because its product line is made up mostly of basic fitness trackers rather than multipurpose devices, according to IDC. The focus on fitness might be a problem for Fitbit.

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Cellular Connectivity Should Boost Apple Watch Sales

Apple is clearly in a good position in the wearables market. Apple Watch shipments soared during the third quarter, and the company’s decision to include cellular connectivity in the smartwatch “should spur interest … going forward,” IDC reported. 

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Watch Out for Huawei

At year-over-year growth exceeding 156 percent, Huawei came on strong during the third quarter. According to IDC, Huawei benefited from strong shipments in China and a heavy focus on a wide range of devices, including fitness bands and smart eyewear.

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Why Phablet-Sized Smartphones Will Dominate the Handset Market

Smartphone buyers are increasingly favoring "phablet"-sized handsets with screens that measure 5.5 inches or more, according to an IDC market report.
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