Apple is top of the wearable pile as smartwatches lead the way

No room for Samsung in top five wearable companies
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Shipments of wearables globally is on the up and Apple is leading the charge ahead of Xiaomi and Fitbit.

That's according to the latest data complied by analyst firm IDC in its worldwide quarterly device tracker, which revealed the top five wearable companies for the second quarter of 2018. That list is based on shipment volume, market share and year-on-year growth.

Essential reading: Best Wear smartwatches to buy now

Apple sits on top with 17% of the market share with the demand for an LTE-enabled Watch said to be keeping the trillion dollar company on top. In second place is Xiaomi with 15% of the market followed up by smartwatch newcomers Fitbit with 9.5% of the market. The list is completed by Huawei and Garmin. Interestingly, there's no place for Samsung. The Korean tech giant only recently unveiled its Galaxy Watch, so maybe the new smartwatch will help it break back into that top five.

Apple is top of the wearable pile as smartwatches lead the way

On a more general wearable front, global shipments have reached 27.9 million, which is apparently up 5.5% from the previous year according to IDC's data. It might not sound like huge growth, but at least it's going in the right direction.

Smartwatches continue to lead the growth particularly in North America, Japan, and Western Europe although there was a 6.3% decline in comparison to figures collected from the same time last year. And while we've been hearing that demand for basic bands is in decline, they are still proving popular in emerging markets including Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

IDC puts the decline in more mature markets like North America and Europe down to people wanting more sophisticated and smarter devices. "Two key forces were at work during the quarter: stronger demand for smart wearables, and slower declines in the basic wearables market," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's wearables team.

"Users have come to want more from their wearable devices, and smart watches have met that demand. Additionally, relative newcomers to the smartwatch market like Fitbit and several Chinese vendors have seen steady growth."

Overall though, Apple has most reasons to be cheerful and is of course expected to unveil its new Apple Watch at its 12 September event. Fitbit will be happy too having only entered the space with its Ionic smartwatch followed by its Versa smartwatch in the past year.

Along with the Samsung omission from the top five list, it's also interesting to see that there's only one Wear smartwatch maker (Huawei) in there too. With the likes of the Fossil Group and Casio launching new watches running Google's operating system in the coming months, maybe that will change things.

It's also good news for wearables on the whole as this data shows that devices are getting into the hands of more people in more places around the world. The demand for smarter wearables over basic wearables is something we expected to see, but clearly there's still an appetite for devices that are cheaper and pack minimal smarts.

Apple is top of the wearable pile as smartwatches lead the way

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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