Time’s up for smartwatch market?, plunges by a third

ResearchWearables
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Apple the only top five smartwatch vendor to see a year-on-year decline

The worldwide smartwatch market saw a year-over-year quarterly decline of 32 percent, according to analyst IDC.

Smartwatch vendors shipped 3.5 million units in the second quarter of 2016 (2Q16), which was down substantially from the 5.1 million shipped a year ago.

Apple held the top rank by shipping 1.6 million watches. However, it was the only vendor among the top 5 to experience an annual decline in shipments.

Apple Watch“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,” said Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at IDC.

“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.”

Traditional watchmaker brands have entered the smartwatch market, but are trailing far behind their technology brand counterparts.

Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer have launched their own models to the market, and participation from traditional watchmaker brands is “imperative” to deliver some of the most important qualities of a smartwatch sought after by end-users, namely design, fit and functionality, said IDC.

“Combine these with the brand recognition and distribution these brands already have, and it’s reasonable to expect the smartwatch market to grow from here,” the analyst said.

Top five smartwatch shippers: Apple (47 percent share), Samsung (16 percent), Lenovo (9 percent), LG Electronics (8 percent), Garmin (4 percent), others (16 percent).

@AntonySavvas