The worldwide smartwatch market saw a year-over-year decline of 32% in the second quarter of 2016. According to IDC’s latest report, smartwatch vendors shipped 3.5 million units in 2Q16, down from 5.1 million shipped a year ago.
The fall in numbers was attributed to a drop in sales of the Apple Watch. IDC said it was the only vendor among the top five to experience an annual shipment decline. Its market share fell from 72% in 2Q15 to 47%. This is most likely because consumers delayed their smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh and an improved WatchOS, which are not expected until later this year, said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.
Coming in second place is Samsung, with grew from 7% in 2Q15 to 16% market share. Nevertheless, it shipped only 600,000 units compared to Apple’s 1.6 million in the same period. Lenovo and LG Electronics shipped 300,000 and Garmin shipped 100,000, to round off the top five.
IDC says traditional watchmaker brands are still missing from the pack of leading vendors. Only a handful of them – Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer, for example – are entering the smartwatch market. “Participation from traditional watchmaker brands is imperative to deliver some of the most important sought-after qualities of a smartwatch: design, fit, and functionality,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team.
These brands’ recognition and distribution will contribute to the market growth. Furthermore, continued platform development, cellular connectivity and growing number of apps will make smartwatches more appealing to a broader market and spur growth. IDC says it expects these developments to help the market rebound in 2017 but it will depend heavily on when vendors create a stronger reason for using them.