Apple Watch Puts Apple Within Striking Distance Of Fitbit For Top Spot In Wearables Market

It didn't take long for Apple to leave its mark on the wearables market. With the introduction of the Apple Watch starting at $349 and going all the way up to $17,000, Apple gambled that buyers would line up to pay a premium for a smartwatch, and it was right. According to data compiled by International Data Corporation, Apple is the second largest player in the wearables market behind Fitbit and is within "striking distance" of the top spot.

Apple shipped 3.6 million Apple Watch devices in the second quarter of 2015, which is just 0.8 million less than Fitbit. That gives Apple a 19.9 percent share of the wearables market, compared to Fitbit's 24.3 percent.

Apple Watch

"Anytime Apple enters a new market, not only does it draw attention to itself, but to the market as a whole," noted Ramon Llamas, Research Manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Its participation benefits multiple players and platforms within the wearables ecosystem, and ultimately drives total volumes higher. Apple also forces other vendors – especially those that have been part of this market for multiple quarters – to re-evaluate their products and experiences. Fairly or not, Apple will become the stick against which other wearables are measured, and competing vendors need to stay current or ahead of Apple."

Apple's participation in the wearables market helped it grow a staggering 223.2 percent over the last year. Granted that only translates into 18.1 million wearables overall, but it shows the influence Apple can have on a market segment.

Even so, overtaking Fitbit for pole position won't be easy. Fitbit enjoyed triple-digit year-over-year shipment growth, along with double-digit year-over-year revenue and profit growth. It also was able to expand its partnerships with corporate wellness groups, fashion, and food companies, all of which give Fitbit an expanded presence.