Apple Watch Expands Lead Over Rivals In Expanding Wearables Market

apple watch series 3
Many people dismissed the Apple Watch as an expensive bauble when it was first announced nearly four years ago, but through three generations, Apple has begun carving out a larger piece of the wearables market. According to IDC, the overall global wearables market expanded 5.5 percent during Q2 2018 to 27.9 million units.
More importantly for the companies pushing wearables, higher prices meant that the average selling price (ASP) of the category increased by 8.3 percent year-over-year. 

Apple experienced over 38 percent year-over-year growth to take 17 percent of the wearables market. Interestingly, much of Apple's strength in the wearable segment can be attributed to demand for the LTE version of the Apple Watch Series 3. This particular variant allows you to make and receive calls without the need for tethering an iPhone. The device starts at $399 for the 38mm case, and $429 with a 42mm case. You can spot an LTE-equipped Apple Watch by the garish red dot on its digital crown.

apple watch series 4
Apple Watch Series 4

Apple will be launching watchOS 5 later this month to the public, and it will feature a number of fitness- and convenience-related improvements. It will also be limited to Series 1 and newer devices; which Apple is likely hoping will prompt owners of first-generation Series 0 Apple Watches to upgrade to newer hardware. And if the software experience update wasn't enough, there's also the incoming Apple Watch Series 4, which leaked last week. That device features a larger display and thinner body.

Xiaomi sat in second place with 15.1 percent of the wearables market, and nearly hit 20 percent year-over-year growth. IDC attributes this growth to an expansive product portfolio that includes fitness trackers and smartwatches aimed at children.

xiaomi mi band
Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Perhaps the biggest loser during Q2 was Fitbit, which has traditionally relied on the sales of basic fitness wearables. However, as the market for these devices has declined, Fitbit has been hit hard. It experienced a 21.7 percent decline in Q2 2018 shipments and watched its 12.8 percent share of the market in 2017 drop to 9.5 percent. Huawei and Garmin rounded out the top five ranking with a 6.5 percent and 5.3 percent share respectively of the wearables market. Both experienced growth year-over-year, but Huawei was the standout with a 118.1 percent uplift in shipments.

"Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smart watches have met that demand," wrote IDC Wearables research director Ramon T. Llamas. "Basic wearables have been in decline over the past several quarters, but that does not mean that they no longer have a place in the market. There still exists multiple market segments who prefer simple and inexpensive wearable devices and this is where wristworn fitness trackers and hybrid watches are finding demand."