Apple Watch Losing Ground to 'Basic Wearables' Like Fitbit Ahead of New Models

by

New data from market research firm IDC shows a split in the wearables market, with "basic wearables" (Fitbit) gaining popularity, and "smart wearables" (Apple Watch) seeing stalled growth. Despite a portion of the market stalling out, the overall wearable device market grew 26.1 percent in comparison to the year ago quarter, suggesting the burgeoning technology is gaining traction among consumers.

IDC specifically categorizes basic wearables as those devices without third party application support and smart wearables as any device with support for third party applications. Comparing each section's growth from last year, the research firm said that the two categories "traveled at different speeds and directions" in 2016, with basic wearables up 48.8 percent from 2015, and smart wearables down 27.2 percent year-over-year. In total, basic wearables represented 82.8 percent of every wrist-worn device shipped during the quarter.

applewatchbuiltinapps

Basic wearables, which include most fitness trackers, have benefited from a combination of factors: a clear value proposition for end-users, an abundant selection of devices from multiple vendors, and affordable price points," said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Wearables.

"Smart wearables, meanwhile, are still struggling to find their place in the market," added Llamas. "There is plenty of curiosity about what smart wearables – particularly smartwatches – can do, but they have yet to convince users that they are a must-have item. 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."

Apple, representing the smart wearables section of the market, was the only company among the leaders in the wearable market to post a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes, which IDC ascribes mainly to the lack of a second generation Apple Watch on the first generation's anniversary last March. Specifically, Apple again finished third in the overall wearables market with a 7 percent market share and 1.6 million units shipped. In the first quarter of the year, Apple had a 7.5 percent market share and approximately 1.5 million sales for the Apple Watch.

apple watch sales 2
As the Apple Watch stalls, Fitbit has grown, with a 25.4 percent share of the market and 5.7 million units shipped in the second quarter, compared to a 24.5 percent share and 4.8 million units in the first quarter. Because the company's name remains "synonymous with fitness bands," IDC believes its reign will continue in the wearables market. Until smart wearables with various functionalities can justify higher prices to consumers, a more affordable wearable with "a clear value proposition," i.e. fitness-focused features, will help Fitbit remain on top of the market, according to the firm.

Any slowdown in market share of the Apple Watch could also be attributed to prospective buyers holding out for the second generation device, now expected to be announced during Apple's media event set for tomorrow, September 7. In addition to a thinner display and larger battery, the Apple Watch 2 is believed to include GPS, an improved processor, and better waterproofing.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
49 months ago
Could this have something to do with the high price? (Hint: Apple Watch is too expensive!)

iPad mini 2 $269.

Apple Watch $299.

One is incredibly more useful and doesn't require daily charging.

Apple Watch should be priced at $99. It requires an iPhone purchase to work.
Apple Watch could be a gateway to iPhone / iOS world at a much lower price.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

Could this have something to do with the high price? (Hint: Apple Watch is too expensive!)

iPad mini 2 $269.

Apple Watch $299.

One is incredibly more useful and doesn't require daily charging.

Yeah, the Watch is indeed more useful by a mile.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

Could this have something to do with the high price? (Hint: Apple Watch is too expensive!)

iPad mini 2 $269.

Apple Watch $299.

One is incredibly more useful and doesn't require daily charging.

Apple Watch should be priced at $99. It requires an iPhone purchase to work.
Apple Watch could be a gateway to iPhone / iOS world at a much lower price.

Actually Apple Watch being compared to basic wearables is actually a testament to its popularity. Their sale numbers have so surpassed other smart watches, that the only competition left is wearables. A category it is not a part of.
Puts it in perspective doesn't it?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

If all you really want is a step counter and maybe the time other devices are attractive.

Sell it for 199 and they'll sell millions
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

Sell it for 199 and they'll sell millions

Exactly! The "Apple tax", is really holding them back.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
Why would anyone be so naive as to believe Apple wants to sell double the units at half the profit?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple's First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display Will Become 'Obsolete' in 30 Days

Monday June 1, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
If you are still hanging on to a Mid 2012 model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and require a new battery or other repairs, be sure to book an appointment with a service provider as soon as possible. In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as "obsolete" worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over...

Tim Cook Addresses George Floyd's Death and Ensuing Protests and Riots as Apple Temporarily Closes Some U.S. Stores

Sunday May 31, 2020 8:04 pm PDT by
Amid unrest in numerous U.S. cities following last week's killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared an internal memo with employees (via Bloomberg) addressing the pain that many are feeling and urging others to commit "to creating a better, more just world for everyone." Cook also announced that Apple is making donations to several groups challenging...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update With Security Fix

Monday June 1, 2020 10:56 am PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. The supplemental update comes a week after the release of the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update. ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

iOS 14 Again Said to Be Compatible With All iPhones Able to Run iOS 13

Monday June 1, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones and iPod touch models able to run iOS 13, according to information shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. The compatibility data was allegedly found in a leaked version of iOS 14 and confirmed by what The Verifier says is a "trusted source from the system development process." iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, with a full...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 With Fixes for Recent 'unc0ver' Jailbreak Vulnerability

Monday June 1, 2020 9:58 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1, minor updates that come a little over a week after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that brought the Exposure Notification API, FaceTime changes, mask-related unlocking updates and more. The iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings >...

Mockups Depict iPhone 12 Lineup Sizes, Relocated SIM Tray

Monday June 1, 2020 1:22 pm PDT by
A series of 3D printed iPhone 12 mockups designed based on leaked schematics and info from Apple's supply chain was today shared by Japanese site Mac Otakara, giving us a first look at what we can expect from the 2020 iPhone lineup. Rumors have suggested Apple will release four iPhone 12 models in 2020: A 5.4-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and a 6.7-inch...

Five Mac Apps Worth Checking Out - June 2020

Tuesday June 2, 2020 2:25 pm PDT by
Apps developed for the Mac often don't receive as much coverage as apps designed for iPhones and iPads, so we have a series at MacRumors that highlights interesting Mac apps that are worth taking a look at. This month's apps are designed to make working from home a little bit easier. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Meeter (Free) - Working from home often...

Apple Music Joins Music Industry's Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign

Tuesday June 2, 2020 1:31 am PDT by
Apple Music has cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule for Blackout Tuesday and is suggesting that listeners tune in to a radio stream celebrating the best in black music. Blackout Tuesday is a campaign organized by the music industry to support Black Lives Matter after Minneapolis citizen George Floyd was killed by police in the course of his arrest. On launching Apple Music, many users...

6.1-inch 'iPhone 12' Production to Begin in July Ahead of Other 2020 Models

Monday June 1, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Volume production of Apple's forthcoming 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models will start in July-August ahead of the rest of the company's flagship iPhone lineup this year, according to a new report by DigiTimes. Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌iPhone‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up could cause a...

Apple Releases tvOS 13.4.6 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Monday June 1, 2020 9:56 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 13.4.6, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 13.4.6 comes a little over a week after the release of tvOS 13.4.5. tvOS 13.4.6, a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software ...