IDC: Smartwatch Market Sees First Decline in Global Shipments

IDCOn Thursday, IDC reported some troubling news for the global state of the smartwatch industry.

For the first time, the worldwide smartwatch market saw a year-over-year decline of 32%, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

According to the IDC’s media announcement, smartwatch vendors shipped 3.5 million units in the second quarter of 2016. That’s down substantially from the 5.1 million shipped a year ago.

As for the market leaders, Apple held the top rank by shipping 1.6 million watches. “However, it was the only vendor among the top 5 to experience an annual decline in shipments,” IDC says.

In fairness to Apple, the year-over-year comparison is to the initial launch quarter of the Apple Watch, which is in many ways the same product offered in the most recent quarter with price reductions.

“Consumers have held off on smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh, and improvements in WatchOS are not expected until later this year, effectively stalling existing Apple Watch sales,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Apple still maintains a significant lead in the market and unfortunately a decline for Apple leads to a decline in the entire market. Every vendor faces similar challenges related to fashion and functionality, and though we expect improvements next year, growth in the remainder of 2016 will likely be muted.”

To learn more about IDC’s latest report, click here.