The worldwide smartwatch market has seen a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes for the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), according to data from the International Data Corporation, (IDC).
The total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, down from 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15.
However, IDC notes that while the decline seems significant, 3Q15 was actually the first time Appel’s Watch had widespread retail availability,
Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, says the sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning.
“Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September,” explains Llamas.
“Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers."
Apple, Garmin, Samsung, Lenovo (Motorola) and Pebble were all in the top five smartwatch vendors for this particular quarter.
Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers says it has also become evident that at present 'smartwatches are not for everyone'.
"Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity,” explains Ubrani.
“However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we're starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices."