Global Wearables Market Shows Slight Increase Due to Emerging Market Gains, IDC Study Suggests

Global wearables market

The worldwide wearables market experienced continuous growth in the 2nd quarter of 2018 (2Q18) as the number of shipments reached 27.9 million units, up 5.5 percent from the previous year according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The continued popularity of smartwatches with their high price tags fueled the growth in dollar value of the market, growing 8.3 percent year-over-year to $4.8 billion in 2Q18.

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Mature markets, comprised of North America, Japan, and Western Europe, declined 6.3 percent year-over-year as they were largely made up of basic wristbands last year. Meanwhile, emerging markets, including Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America experienced a 14 percent growth year-over-year as basic wristbands are in high demand in these areas.

“The decline in mature markets is by no means worrisome as these markets are in the midst of transitioning to more sophisticated wearables,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “While the previous generation of wearables was focused on providing descriptive feedback like step counts, the current and upcoming generations are far more capable and are well on track to becoming prescriptive and diagnostic tools. Surrounding these smarter wearables is a constellation of technologies and service providers that includes app developers, telcos, component makers, healthcare institutions and more – each poised for growth in the coming years.”

Global wearables market

Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team said that 2 key forces – stronger demand for smart wearables, and slower declines in the basic wearables market – were at work during the quarter. “Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smart watches have met that demand. Additionally, relative newcomers to the smartwatch market like Fitbit and several Chinese vendors have seen steady growth,” he said.

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“Basic wearables have been in decline over the past several quarters, but that does not mean that they no longer have a place in the market.”

Top 5 wearables companies in 2Q18 were Apple, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Huawei and Garmin respectively.

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Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)