Worldwide smartwatch shipments dropped 32 per cent in Q2 2016, according to an IDC report – the first time the market has shrunk. 3.5m smartwatches were shipped during the quarter, down from 5.1m a year earlier, driven by a dramatic drop in Apple Watch sales.
While Apple continues to hold the top spot for smartwatch vendors, shipments fell by 55 per cent year-on-year, to 1.6m units.
In fact, it was the only vendor in the top five to see a decline in shipments, with Samsung in second place up 51 per cent and Lenovo, in third, up 75 per cent. It's worth noting, though, that these increase come from a much smaller base – Samsung shipped around 600,000 watches during the quarter, and Lenovo just 300,000.
Apple still holds a 47 per cent market share, though this is down from 72 per cent last year.
"Consumers have held off on smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh, and improvements in WatchOS are not expected until later this year, effectively stalling existing Apple Watch sales," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Apple still maintains a significant lead in the market and unfortunately a decline for Apple leads to a decline in the entire market. Every vendor faces similar challenges related to fashion and functionality, and though we expect improvements next year, growth in the remainder of 2016 will likely be muted."
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