The FINANCIAL — According to the International Data Corporation (IDC ) PRC Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, wearable device shipments in China reached 7.37 million units in Q3 2015, up 40.1% from the previous quarter.
Throughout Q3 2015, several highlights in the wearable device market stood out, such as the explosive growth in sales of children’s watches, successive market launches of Android Wear smart watches, emergence of wearable payment devices, and the outstanding performance of sport wearable devices. These trends are detailed further below.
1. Following explosive growth in July and August, sales of children’s watches plummeted in September.
Following channel expansions and user build up in Q2 2015, vendors saw an explosive growth in sales of children’s watches in July and August driven by school shopping. Increases in sales of children’s watches were so drastic that they led to shortages in the upstream PMOLED screen supply chain, giving rise to public concerns regarding product quality and safety. However, sales of children’s watches took a nosedive in September following the end of the school shopping season. This prompted vendors to change their sales channels and marketing strategies to focus on raising market share during the end-of-year shopping season.
2. Apple topped the smart watch charts and the 2nd-gen Moto 360 brings Android Wear into the Chinese market.
Expanding its reach through both Apple dealership stores and 3C online channels like Digital China, Gome, Suning, and Jingdong, the Apple Watch achieved steady sales growth in Q3 over the previous quarter. As the first Android Wear smart watch to enter the Chinese market, the 2nd-gen Moto 360 boasted great sales after its online debut in September. In addition, domestic brands like Geak and inWatch also performed well in Q3 2015 by targeting customer niches.
3. Wearable payment devices grow quickly and lead user demand.
With the popularity of mobile payment and the expansion of NFC-carrying vendors, wearable devices have become an excellent facilitator for mobile payment. Booming sales through both offline and online channels revealed iShuashua as a shining example of growth in the wearable market in Q3 2015. Later, Lakala, Casio, and Fiiband also launched watches with payment functionality, aiming to further expand market opportunities for wearable payment devices.
4. User demographic for sport wearable devices expands, and product form factor diversification begins to take shape.
As citizen awareness and interest in sports and physical fitness grows across China, bracelet-type products with only simple health monitoring and tracking functions can no longer meet user needs. Smart sports watches, multifunctional sports watches and other sport wearable devices all showed a trend of quarter-on-quarter growth in sales in Q3 2015. Through a wide range of product lines covering many functional market segments and price ranges, Garmin has established itself as the top selling smart watch vendor in Q3. The introduction of smart running shoes by Li Ning and Huami have performed extremely well, and mark an important step in expanding the form factor of wearable devices towards garment-type products.
Jean Xiao, Research Manager of wearable market at IDC China, believes that: “The current rapid growth of China’s wearable device market relies heavily on growth in shipments of basic wearable devices. As more vendors enter the smart wearable device market, basic wearable devices will face significant competition from their smart device counterparts.”