The third quarter of 2016 was apparently not a good one for smartwatch makers. A new report from the research firm IDC states that overall shipments of smartwatches worldwide were down by a whopping 51.6% in the quarter, compared to the same time period a year ago.
The IDC says that 2.7 million units of smartwatches shipped in the third quarter of this year, which is a big decrease compared to the 5.6 million units that the firm claims shipped out in the same quarter of 2015. IDC does note that the first generation Apple Watch began being sold widely in the third quarter of 2015, so the shipment numbers from that device could be somewhat skewed.
The report also points out that the Apple Watch Series 2 just went on sale in the last two weeks of the third quarter of 2016, so its shipment numbers (which Apple has never officially revealed), are still in its early stages. The Apple Watch lineup still leads the smartwatch market with 1.1 million units shipped, according to IDC. Garmin was second with 600,000 units, followed by Samsung with 400,000 units.
The fourth quarter of 2016 will likely be dominated once again by Apple, with its second generation smartwatch becoming more widely available. However, Google’s recent decision to delay the launch of its Android Wear 2.0 update from late 2016 to early 2017 could mean that OEMs might decide to delay new smartwatch models until after the holiday shopping season. Google itself is rumored to launch two smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 sometime next year.
Finally, IDC points out what should be obvious: the current crop of smartwatches are not for everyone, but that could change in the future as more of them add direct connections to cellular networks. Jitesh Ubrani, the senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers stated:
Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity. However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we’re starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices.
Are you still waiting to buy a smartwatch that adds the features that you want in such a wearable?