Apple could soon be the number one wearable brand

While it might sometimes seem like smartwatches aren’t that popular, the reality is that they’re getting more so all the time. The global wearables market grew 7.3% year-over-year, figures for the third quarter of this year show, and that’s down to smart devices.

That’s according to IDC, which in its latest wearables report claims that 26.3 million units have been shipped in Q3, and that the market is trending towards devices which can run third-party applications, and away from more basic wearables, like fitness trackers.

In other words, the growth in the smartwatch market will be even higher than 7.3%, since it’s also making up for the drop off in sales of 'dumber' wearables.

As a result, it’s no surprise to see Apple’s presence growing. At the launch of the Apple Watch 3, Tim Cook proudly revealed that Apple was the number one watch brand, and at this rate next year he’ll be saying it’s the number one wearable brand, as the company now has 10.3% market share, up from 7.3% this time last year.

That still leaves Apple in third place, but it’s not far behind Fitbit and Xiaomi, which are tied for first with a 13.7% share of the market – and due to their reliance on basic wearables, they’re both down on last year, even with products like the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch recently launched.

Getting smarter

Based on this it’s likely that we’ll see more truly smart devices from these brands and others in 2018, and fewer basic fitness bands and hybrid watches.

Rounding out the top five wearable brands, Huawei is in fourth place, having grown enormously from a 2.5% market share in the third quarter of 2016 to 6% now, with that growth apparently driven by fitness bands and smart earphones. In fifth place is Garmin, which has seen a slight drop in market share.

This is good news for smart wearables on the whole though, though it seems like Apple is enjoying most of the growth, since there’s little sign of Android Wear’s presence and no Samsung in the top five (meaning no Tizen).

Still, wearable brands outside the top five have cumulative growth of 15.7% year over year, so they might still be heading in the right direction.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.