Apple Watch Led Wearables Market in Q2 2018 on Strength of LTE Models

Apple again held the top spot in the wearables market during the second quarter of 2018, shipping 4.7 million Apple Watch units and holding a 17 percent share of the overall wearable market. The new data comes from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, which states that the market as a whole was up 5.5 percent due to "gains in emerging markets."

Markets such as Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America grew 14 percent year-over-year because "basic wristbands" remain in high demand due to their low prices. On the other hand, more mature markets like North America, Japan, and Western Europe declined 6.3 percent year-over-year.

apple watch nike 2018 bands
Still, IDC research analyst Jitesh Ubrani says this decline "is by no means worrisome" because the wearables market is transitioning to become "more sophisticated." Instead of tracking basic data points like steps, calories, and workout minutes, future wearables "are well on track to become prescriptive and diagnostic tools." Rumors related to Apple Watch fall in line with this idea, with reports describing future Apple Watch models that could include an EKG heart monitor and track blood glucose levels.

"The decline in mature markets is by no means worrisome as these markets are in the midst of transitioning to more sophisticated wearables," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

"While the previous generation of wearables was focused on providing descriptive feedback like step counts, the current and upcoming generations are far more capable and are well on track to becoming prescriptive and diagonistic tools. Surrounding these smarter wearables is a constellation of technologies and service providers that includes app developers, telcos, component makers, healthcare insitutuions and more – each poised for growth in the coming years."

Overall, IDC says that "two key forces" were at work in Q2 2018: "stronger demand for smart wearables" and "slower decline in the basic wearables market." IDC's data describes a smart watch as a product like Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa, while a basic wearable is something like the Fitbit Charge or Garmin Vivosport.

With this in mind, the researchers state that Apple saw continued demand for its LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 in the quarter, which came as a "welcome addition to many telco channels worldwide." In total, Apple saw a 38.4 year-over-year growth in its Apple Watch shipments from 2017 to 2018. It should be noted that Apple itself does not report Apple Watch sales figures, so IDC's numbers today are just estimates.

idc smart watch
Behind Apple's 17 percent share and 4.7 million Apple Watch shipments was Xiaomi, which owned 15.1 percent of the market and shipped 4.2 million devices in the second quarter, a growth of 19.8 percent from 2017. While Fitbit sat at third place with a 9.5 percent share and 2.7 million units shipped, this was the biggest decline tracked by IDC, dropping 21.7 percent year-over-year.

Rounding out the last two spots were Huawei at a 6.5 percent share and 1.8 million units shipped (growing 118.1 percent from the year-ago quarter) and Garmin at a 5.3 percent share and 1.5 million units shipped (up 4.1 percent). IDC says that Garmin "extended its lead over Samsung," knocking the company out of the top five spots as Garmin's shipment volume of smart watches eclipsed its basic wearables volume.

As smart watches continue to grow in popularity, we're about one week away from the official unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 4, which leaked last week. The wearable will have smaller bezels with more visible screen space, and at least one new watch face that includes more complications than ever before on Apple Watch.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
iPhone 16 Pro Front Update Blue

iPhone 16 Pro Rumored to Support 40W Fast Charging and 20W MagSafe

Wednesday July 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 40W wired fast charging and 20W MagSafe charging, claims a rumor currently swirling around China. Right now, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of up to 27W peak charging speeds with an appropriate USB-C power adapter, while official MagSafe chargers from Apple and authorized third parties can wirelessly charge...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Beta Firmware With Support for iOS 18 Features

Tuesday July 9, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released a second beta firmware for the AirPods Pro 2, including both the Lightning and USB-C versions. The updated firmware has a build number 7A5244b and it is available to developers at the current time. This is the second firmware update that Apple has released since announcing new AirPods Pro 2 features in June. There are several new features that are coming to the AirPods...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

iPhone 16 Models Rumored to Have Face ID-Related Design Changes

Tuesday July 9, 2024 9:15 am PDT by
iPhone 16 models coming later this year could have some Face ID-related "design changes," supply chain publication DigiTimes said this week. The original source of this information is British newspaper The Telegraph, which six weeks ago reported that Face ID component supplier Coherent was considering selling or repurposing a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, a small town in...
orka desktop

MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software

Wednesday July 10, 2024 6:55 am PDT by
Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel. Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls....

Top Rated Comments

EdT Avatar
77 months ago
I don't want my watch to be a prescriptive diagnostic tool. I just want it to give me notifications, track my workouts, and have a battery that lasts more than a day.
I DO want my watch to have medical diagnostics. Evidently so do a lot of other people otherwise every smart watch maker wouldn’t be trying so hard to add them.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mtneer Avatar
77 months ago
Nice to see this segment slowly build up steam. I remember how many people were calling this a dud because it didn't explode out of the gate.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanghaichica Avatar
77 months ago
Not suprised at all. I see these all the time now. So much for a flop.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacBebe Avatar
77 months ago
I don't want my watch to be a prescriptive diagnostic tool. I just want it to give me notifications, track my workouts, and have a battery that lasts more than a day.
A lot of people wants health diagnostic tool with their Apple Watch. If what you need is just notification and track workouts, the Apple Watch is overkill for you in my opinion.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
77 months ago
Nice to see this segment slowly build up steam. I remember how many people were calling this a dud because it didn't explode out of the gate.
I think with LTE the watch gains a lot more freedom. You can actually go for a run or to the gym without a phone and still have music, workouts, tracking, phone calls and messages.

The S4 is going to be huge with the larger screen and seemingly thinner body (And the cleaning up of the hideous red button.)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Game 161 Avatar
77 months ago
No surprise

Love mine
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)