Apple Watch tops wearable market as demand for basic trackers falls

Consumers want smartwatches that do more than just count steps, according to IDC.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read
Apple Watch Series 3

Apple captured 17 percent of the wearables market worldwide in the second quarter, according to IDC.

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The Apple Watch is on top.

Apple captured 17 percent of the global wearables market in the second quarter, shipping 4.7 million devices, according to a report Tuesday from market researcher IDC. That slab of share kept Apple in the No. 1 slot.

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Apple maintained its top position in part due to demand for its LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3, said IDC. The tech giant is expected to reveal its next smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 4, at a Sept. 12 event. The new Watch may offer a larger display and updated health sensors.

Apple success comes as overall wearable shipments worldwide grew 5.5 percent from a year ago to 27.9 million units, according to IDC, but demand for basic wristbands, like fitness trackers, declined in markets such as North America, Japan and Western Europe. Instead, consumers are looking to smartwatches that feature advanced apps and sensors that monitor health, said IDC.

"While the previous generation of wearables was focused on providing descriptive feedback like step counts, the current and upcoming generations are far more capable and are well on track to becoming prescriptive and diagnostic tools," Ramon Llamas, research director for IDC's wearables team, said in the report. "Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smart watches have met that demand."

Overall, IDC said the top five companies in the wearables market are Apple, Xiaomi , Fitbit , Huawei and Garmin . Among them, Huawei has seen the highest growth -- 118 percent -- and Fitbit has seen the sharpest drop -- 22 percent -- since a year earlier.

Apple declined to comment.