What is the state of the Wearables market

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Market analysts Kantar World panel ComTech has revealed wearable device data on the world market for the three months to December 2016 in both the US and Europe.

Each of the biggest markets in Europe, Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy (“The EU4”) all had an increase in wearable tech distribution in the quarter.

Smart watch sales showed more success than fitness brands with 38% of the total European market in Q4.

Great Britain was the highest seller of smart watches which accounted for 45% of purchased wearables. France had the lowest proportion of smart watch purchases by consumers as 70% of those who bought a wearable opted for a fitness band.

Across the EU4 markets, Apple remained the top seller in smart watches at 37% of market share and Samsung fared at 16%.

In the fitness band sector the Garmin brand had more success in Germany over FitBit, with the highest market share at 36% compared with 31% for Fitbit brands.

But across all the EU4 markets FitBit seized 50% of the fitness band sale across the board making it the most popular brand compared to its main rival Garmin.

The US Wearable Market

The European market is in line with market activity in the US.

Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “Fitness bands continue to outsell more advanced smart watches, in the fourth quarter of 2016, just 35% of wearables purchased in the US were smartwatches, a decline from 40% in the third quarter of 2016. Apple was the top smart watch brand in the US, capturing a 50% share vs. 24% in the third quarter of 2016. The next nearest competitor was Samsung at 17.4%, while the remainder of the market was fragmented among smaller suppliers.”

Guenveur added: “In the fitness band category, Fitbit continued to dominate sales at 75%, up from 43% in the third quarter of 2016, Garmin, its nearest competitor, captured a 12.5% share. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals were a big driver for Fitbit, with nearly all models discounted by $20 to $30, depending on the retailer. The FitBit Charge 2, released in mid-September 2016, was the top fitness band at 27%.”

Apple and Fitbit have been the most successful companies in wearable sales with the Apple watch series 2 featuring a GPS tracker and waterproof design released in September 2016 boosting sales in the US by a period of 33% with lack of holiday discounts. Surveyed non-owners in the December 2016 showed that just 8% were considering buying a wearable device over the next few months, while 76% did not intend to make a purchase.

Companies that had less success in market share have concluded to stop producing wearables as maintaining profit on the market share is not adequate. These are Lenovo’s Moto and Microsoft, both companies have announced in late 2016 that their wearable production will be officially halted and earlier Jawbone stop production in May 2016. Fitbit has made an acquisition of early starting companies Pebble and the Vector watch software platform in December 2016.

At CES 2017 generated some cautious optimism in the wearables space. Start-ups were attempting to differentiate themselves from traditional fitness bands and watches with more specialized and specific use cases such as serious health tracking, stress and emotion monitoring, and exercise form evaluation. And these were not all wrist-wearables. Other emerging applications included smart clothing, hearables, stick-on trackers, rings, and a wearable breast pump.




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