Interest in Smartwatches Dips in Q2 2016 as Users Hold Out Hoping for Product Refreshes

Shipments dropped by 32% year over year


Smartwatches on display

There was less interest in smartwatches in the second quarter of the year as compared to the first.

Only 3.5 million smartwatch units were shipped globally in that period compared to 5.1 million in the previous quarter, the latest data from research firm IDC shows.

The reason being cited as to being mostly behind the apparent lack of interest in the segment that most analysts thought was going to be the next big thing earlier on is said to be users holding back as they anticipate newer models from the various smartwatch manufacturers. This also includes updates to the software that powers most of the smartwatches.

Smartwatches on display
Smartwatches on display

Both Apple and Google which own the WatchOS and Android Wear platforms on which most smartwatches are based announced new updates to their respective platforms in the second quarter which are expected to hit existing devices soon as well as ship with new products.

Despite experiencing a huge drop in interest in its Watch, Apple remains the undisputed market leader with 1.6 million Apple Watch units being shipped in the period under review. That is an equivalent of 47% market share. However, Apple’s shipments dropped by 55%. To be fair to the Cupertino-based company, though, it had only started selling the Apple Watch back then and with no new model out ever since, the numbers are not that shocking – there’s nothing new to buy from Apple other than the same old stuff.

Apple has held out on releasing a new iteration of its smartwatch over a year since its launch. The company has opted, instead, to periodically release new bands as well as upgrade the software on the Watch.

Samsung, Lenovo, LG, Garmin and others share the remaining spoils.


Lenovo’s presence in the listing may be a little surprising to some but it shouldn’t be at all. As much as the Chinese company is not known for its own branded smartwatches, it is now the owner of the makers of the Moto 360, Motorola.

Samsung has taken far too long to open up its Gear S2 smartwatch to the iPhone and this is hurting it in the long run. With just 600,000 units of all its smartwatches shipped in Q2 2016, the Korean consumer electronics maker could do much better if it actualised reported plans of making its Tizen-based smartwatches compatible with iOS devices like the iPhone.

The entry of a few notable watchmakers like Tag HEUER and Casio does not seem to have excited the market that much.

At this point in time, smartwatches are being undone by things like the need to charge them often and the biggest entry barrier of all, price. Smartwatches still don’t come cheap. This is why users are opting to settle for other wearables that provide some of the functionality that is built into smartwatches like fitness trackers for health and fitness purposes.