HomeNewsSmartwatch market tumbles as consumers wait on new Apple OS

    Smartwatch market tumbles as consumers wait on new Apple OS


    Global smartwatch shipments have declined by almost a third, as Apple experienced a slump in demand for its Watch while consumers wait for its new operating system, new figures have claimed.

    According to IDC, smartwatch vendors only shipped 3.5 million units in the second quarter of this year, down 32 percent from the 5.1 million rolled out during the same period in 2015.

    Apple remains the market leader, with shipments of 1.6 million. However, it was the only vendor within the top five to experience a shipment decline, down 55 percent on the previous year, although it has an overall market share of 47 percent.

    Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said: “Consumers have held off on smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh, and improvements in WatchOS are not expected until later this year, effectively stalling existing Apple Watch sales.

    “Apple still maintains a significant lead in the market and unfortunately a decline for Apple leads to a decline in the entire market. Every vendor faces similar challenges related to fashion and functionality, and though we expect improvements next year, growth in the remainder of 2016 will likely be muted.”

    Samsung was the second most popular vendor with shipments of 600,000, up 51 percent on the previous year, and a market share of 16 percent. Analysts noted the manufacturer’s success in getting distribution through American operators and its SIM-enabled devices.

    The top five was rounded out by Lenovo, LG (both shipping 300,000), and Garmin (100,000). Analysts noted they were surprised by how reluctant traditional watch manufacturers were to push into the top five.

    Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, said: “What will bear close observation is how the smarwatch market evolves from here. Continued platform development, cellular connectivity, and an increasing number of applications all point to a smartwatch market that will be constantly changing. These will appeal to a broader market, ultimately leading to a growing market.

    “IDC does expect to see the market return to growth in 2017 driven by the aforementioned market developments. Exactly when that rebound happens will depend heavily on when vendors drive a better use case.”