Experts Have No Idea What the Smartwatch Market Is Doing

Last Edited: November 12, 2016 | Published: November 12, 2016 by

Experts Have No Idea What the Smartwatch Market Is Doing

Perhaps you have heard about all the doom and gloom about smartwatches lately? Many experts have been going around saying that the market is in decline. Even IDC said so in their latest report. Now, however, a new report is saying something very different.

In a new report from Canalys, one of IDC’s biggest competitors, has issued a very different report that actually says that smartwatches have experienced growth in the third quarter, instead of a decline.

First, let’s look at what IDC had to say in their latest release on smartwatches. “The worldwide smartwatch market experienced a round of growing pains in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), resulting in a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes. According to data from the International Data Corporation, (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15. Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.”

If you believe this report, the market for smartwatches isn’t doing too hot. However, Canalys has something very different to say. Apple shipped 2.8 million Watches in Q3, thanks to the release of the new Series 1 and Series 2 models late in the quarter. Despite reports to the contrary, Canalys research shows that shipments compared favorably to those in Q3 2015, the first full quarter after the original Apple Watch’s launch in April 2015. Total smart watch shipments exceeded 6.1 million for the quarter, an annual increase of 60%.

In addition to this stark contrast between growth and decline, the two companies also differ on who the leaders in the market actually are. While both do admit that Apple is leading the pack with the Apple Watch, the companies who round out the top three are very different.

According to the IDC, the top three smartwatch makers are: Apple, Garmin and Samsung. However, according to Canalys, the top three are Apple, Samsung and Fitbit. Very different figures. Have a look at the marketshare according to Canalys below:

Smart watches Q3 2016_0

It seems that the experts really have no idea exactly how the market is doing. They can’t even seem to agree on who the top smartwatch manufacturers are. IDC doesn’t even include Fitbit on the list. Now it is possible that they could be using different criteria for their research, but the difference between the market shrinking and growing couldn’t be more different. Because of these differences, it is now very difficult to determine exactly how well the smartwatch market is actually doing today.

There is no doubt that the smartwatch market is changing, but as more and more companies enter the market, you can expect the products to improve as competition grows. Hopefully, this means that Canalys is correct in their research and assessment. In the end, time will tell. Until then, though, I wouldn’t put too much stock into what the so called experts have to say about the health of the smartwatch market.

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