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, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
51 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
51 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
51 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
51 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
51 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
51 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 Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...