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article imageWearables market growth climbs 200% in a year, led by Fitbit

By James Walker     Dec 4, 2015 in Technology
The market for wearable devices has grown by almost 200 percent in the past year, helped by the launch of new smartwatches from companies including Apple and Xiaomi. They continue to lose out to established favourite Fitbit though.
The Telegraph reports on research from market analysts IDC. It found wearables have grown 197.6 percent in just the past 12 months as the emerging category begins to find fans and convert more smartphone users. Demand is currently particularly high in China but popularity is growing around the world.
The most popular single hardware vendor remains Fitbit. Twenty-two percent of wearables sold this year were built by the company which specialises in creating health-focused smart bands like the Charge and Surge.
Fitbit is followed by Apple. The Apple Watch only launched in April but it has sold strongly enough to give the company an 18.6 percent share of the market in just eight months. The Apple Watch is the most popular product overall when considering only devices marketed primarily as smartwatches rather than as fitness bands.
In third place is Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi with 17.4 percent of the market. It has less of a presence outside of China though and its devices have yet to make a real impression in the west. Over 97 percent of Xiaomi Mi Band's sold remain within the country's borders.
Ramon Llamas, researcher manager for IDC's wearables team, commented: "The early stages of the wearables market have led to tight competition among the leading vendors, and Chinese vendors have seized upon market momentum to grab market share." He explained: "China has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing wearables market, attracting companies eager to compete on price and feature sets. In addition, multiple vendors have experimented with a broad range of products and applications. The challenge however, is whether these vendors can expand their presence, as few have extended beyond the country's borders and into other markets."
Garmin and BBK claim fourth and fifth position respectively in overall wearable market share for the third quarter of 2015. Every other manufacturer is lumped together as "Other," accounting for 34.6 percent of all sales. The category includes devices such as the popular Jawbone fitness trackers, Pebble smartwatches and Microsoft Band. Notably, every Android Wear device built also falls into "Other."
It is thought that half a billion wearables will be in use by 2019, leading to an 18-fold increase in total mobile traffic by 2019, reaching over 634 petabytes each month. Last year, mobile data transfers averaged just over 74.2 petabytes a month, highlighting the need to develop new network infrastructures such as 5G and IPv6 to ensure all the new devices can seamlessly interact with each other in the way they are designed to.
More about wearables, Device, smartwatch, Fitbit, apple watch
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