Health-related applications are driving market growth in smartwatches and fitness bands, according to the latest data from IDC. The research firm uses the term "wrist-worn wearables" for this particular segment and notes that more than 34 million units were shipped in the second quarter.
"Health is now at the forefront for these devices since companies have started providing actionable insights and prescriptive measures for end-users," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers."
The market leaders for wrist-worn wearables include Xiaomi, Apple, Huawei, Fitbit, and Samsung, in that order. Xiaomi's No. 1 position is mostly due to its strength in the China market and sales of its Mi Band 4. Meanwhile, Apple takes second place thanks to the high-dollar value of the Apple Watch. IDC expects Apple's recently announced Series 5 watch to push Apple Watch shipments up 10.8% by the end of 2019.
As for Huawei, IDC points out that many of the company's wearables are bundled with its smartphones, thereby bolstering its competitive stance in the wearables space. Market pioneer Fitbit is experiencing a decline in its smartwatch business after the flop of its Versa Lite device, but its Inspire wristbands are expected to help the company regain momentum. Samsung rounds out the top five and has the highest growth rate of all the vendors due to sales of its low-cost Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e wrist bands, and the popularity of its Galaxy Watch.
IDC is predicting positive momentum for wrist-worn wearables through the end of 2019, with shipment volume growing 21.7% year over year to 152.7 million units. However, this growth rate applies only to smartwatches, as IDC expects the wristband market to remain flat over the period.