IDC is out with its quarterly count of the fitness tracker market, and it’s finding that basic models are growing fast, while more advanced gadgets aren’t.
The market researcher breaks the world down into “basic” and “smart” wearables; the latter supports third-party apps, the former doesn’t. If you accept those definitions, and we think it’s a little simplistic, IDC’s count has the basic market growing by 49 percent from 2Q15 to 2Q16, while the smart market fell by 27 percent.
There’s a new player in the top five: Lifesense, which shipped 1 million units (mostly in China), up from zero the year previous. Fitbit, which has a quarter of the market, shipped 5.7 million units in the second quarter; Xiaomi, with 14 percent, shipped a flat 3.1 million; Apple and Garmin have 7 percent market share each, shipped 1.6 million units apiece.
What separates Apple and Garmin is that Garmin doubled its market share while Apple’s market share slid by half. As terrific as Garmin’s numbers are, Apple’s are deceptively bad. IDC won’t remind you of this, for some reason, but we will: Last year’s second quarter is when the Apple Watch finally shipped, the dam bursting with millions of units worth of pre-orders. It’s hardly surprising that Apple’s market share numbers are down this year, as they were ridiculously inflated a year ago. Look at the chart below: Apple’s market share began to stabilize at the beginning of this year, while Xiaomi’s shrank and the Other segment as the largest growth of all.
When you take out Apple’s market inflation of 2Q15 from the equation, the growth calculation of the “basic” and “smart” markets looks very different. And given the commoditization of basic wearables, it’s still an uncomfortable segment to inhabit.