The wearable space seems to still be figuring itself out — though in spite of some reports about the death of the category, overall growth remains one of the few constants. According to the latest numbers from IDC, the global bump was pretty modest for Q3 of this year, at about 7.3-percent, year over year.
More interestingly, the numbers point to a larger overall trend of consumers moving from dumber, low-end devices to smarter ones. The study defines the latter as devices that are capable of running third-party apps — so pretty much smartwatches, at this point.
That trend does seem to lend some credence to Fitbit’s recent decision to go all-in on smartwatches with multiple high profile acquisitions that led to the creation of the Ionic. That device was something of a mixed bag, though its release did go a ways toward bolstering the company’s sales in recent months.
Fitbit’s fortunes appear to be a mixed big as well, in this latest report. The good news is that the company caught back up to Xiaomi, after the Chinese hardware company surpassed it for a bit, thanks to some seriously low cost devices. The two are basically tied for first according to IDC’s chart.
The one time far and away leader in the space experienced a steep drop in shipments, with a 33-percent year over year decrease. Of course, the Ionic is considerably more expensive, which means the company doesn’t have to ship as many units to make the same revenue — even so, it’s going to have to start selling a lot more smartwatches to make up for those declines.
And while this quarter points to a growth in higher end devices, other recent trends have focused on cheaper devices. That’s certainly driven Xiaomi’s growth, though the company did suffer a slight year over year decline, due perhaps in part tot the fact that the company hasn’t made much of a dent outside of its native China. That hasn’t really hurt Huawei’s growth, however. The company shot up 156-percent year over year, blowing past Garmin to capture fourth place on the chart.
Apple also had a nice bump at 52-percent year over year, thanks to the company’s decision to push back the announcement of the Apple Watch 3. That jump likely also had something to do with this recent shift toward smart device purchases.