Apple continues to lead the smartwatch market according to the latest IDC report, but it’s clear the segment as a whole isn’t the breakout success many tech firms would have hoped for. In fact, the number of smartwatches shipped over the July-to-September quarter is down 52 percent compared to the same period last year.
Apple shipped 1.1 million smartwatches during the third quarter, down 72% from the 3.9 million it shipped in Q3 2015. That was enough to grab a 41.3% market share, although that down significantly from 70.2% a year earlier. Garmin came in second with 600,000 units sold and 20.5% market share, up from just 2.3% a year ago, while Samsung took the third spot with 400,000 units and Lenovo Group and Pebble were fourth and fifth with 100,000 units each.
IDC argues there are a couple of major factors in the decline in smartwatch shipments. For one thing, many consumers knew that the second generation of the Apple Watch was going to be announced in September thanks to numerous leaks, which caused many of them to hold off on buying until the new device arrived at the end of September.
On the other side of the equation, Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 left OEM partners to decide as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays.
We might still see better numbers for the Apple Watch Series 2.0 as these figures only include two weeks of sale and more appealing devices from the Android camp once Android Wear 2.0 arrives. However, IDC concludes it’s becoming increasingly clear that smartwatches aren’t for everyone. "Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity,” says senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani.