Wearables market surges as shoppers jump on low prices, new products

Consumers are liking wearables. 

Sarah Tew/Techhnews

Consumers are snapping up low-cost wearables as basic trackers add new features that bring them closer to smartwatches.

Shipments of wearable devices reached 32 million units worldwide in the third quarter this year, up 21.7 percent from a year ago, according to market research firm IDC. New products from Fitbit, Garmin and Huawei along with demand in Asia helped drive growth, IDC reported Monday.

“Many of the new basic wearables include features like notifications or simple app integrations that bleed into smartwatch territory,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, in a release. “However, this resurgence of basic wearables should be watched closely as these wearables have historically been popular due to their low-price points and simplified set of features. As more features get added and as the price differential between basic trackers and smartwatches narrows, brands could potentially move consumers upstream to smartwatches.”

Xiaomi led the wearables market in third quarter, thanks in part of the launch of the Mi Band 3, with 6.9 million shipments and a market share of 21.5 percent, according to IDC. The Chinese company also branched out beyond its home country into India, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the report.

Apple and Fitbit followed in the wearables market with 4.2 million shipments and 3.5 million shipments, respectively. That works out to a 13.1 percent share of the market for Apple, and a 10.9 percent share for Fitbit, according to IDC.

In September, IDC forecasted that smartwatches would dominate nearly half of the wearables market by 2022.

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