Wearable tracking device shipments reached 19.7 million units in the first quarter of 2016, up 67 percent year over year from 11.8 million units. Two areas where the market showed continued growth are smart watches and basic wearables, which are devices that don’t run third party applications.
"The good news is that the wearables market continues to mature and expand," IDC Wearables Research Manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement. "The wearables that we see today are several steps ahead of what we saw when this market began, increasingly taking their cues from form, function, and fashion. That keeps them relevant. The downside is that it is becoming a crowded market, and not everyone is guaranteed success.”
Fitbit led the wearable tracking market with 4.8 million unit shipments in the first quarter and 24.5 percent market share. Just behind Fitbit, Xiaomi saw 3.7 million unit shipments last quarter and had 19 percent market share. Other companies in the top five include Apple, which had 1.5 million unit shipments and 7.5 percent market share; Garmin, which had 900,000 units shipped and 4.6 percent market share; and Samsung, which had 700,000 units shipped and 3.6 percent market share.
When IDC split up the basic wearables and smartwatches, the leaders of the basic wearable category were Fitbit, followed by Xiaomi, Garmin, BBK, a China-based electronics company that make a GPS watch for children, and Lifesense. And in the smartwatch category, Apple led the group, followed by Samsung, with 700,000 unit shipments, Motorola, with 400,000 unit shipments, Huawei, with 200,000 unit shipments, and Garmin, with 100,000 unit shipments.
"It's shortsighted to think that basic wearables and smart watches are in competition with each other,” IDC Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement. “Right now, we see both as essential to expand the overall market. The unique feature sets combined with substantial differences in price and performance sets each category apart, and leaves plenty of room for both to grow over the next few years."