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Apple to Account for Half of Smartwatches Sold in 2016

Alex Spencer

Apple-Watches.pngGlobal wearable device shipments will hit 110m in 2016, according to an IDC study, rising to 237.1m by 2020.

This year, by far the biggest segment will continue to be wristbands, accounting for 72m of those shipments, followed by smartwatches at 28m. The remaining 10m will be split between other form factors like eyewear and clothing, which are very much the minority, though their share is set to more than double by 2020.

The smartwatch market is led fairly decisively by Apple's WatchOS, with 14m shipments giving half of the entire market. By 2020, IDC expects shipments to more than double, to 31m, but Apple's market share to drop to 38 per cent as other challengers rise up.

In a distant second is Android Wear, with 6.1m shipments, or 21 per cent of the market. By 2020, though, IDC expects it to be shipping 28.8m devices, putting it almost neck-and-neck with WatchOS at 35 per cent. When combined with wearables powered by non-specific Android – some 4.3m – Google is predicted to actually take the lead, controlling 40.2 per cent of the market.

“With a few exceptions, this part of the smartwatch market is still in its initial stages,” said IDC wearables research manager Ramon Llamas. “We expect to see major changes, with smartwatches that actually look like watches, user interfaces that are easier than swipes and gestures, applications that rival those on our smartphones, and connections to networks, systems, and other devices. This puts pressure on smartwatch platforms to develop further from where they are today.”