Wearable device manufacturers had a happy post-holiday season, according to new market statistics from International Data Corporation (IDC).
Vendors shipped 11.4 million wearables in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15), a whopping 200 percent year-over-year increase. By comparison, 3.8 million wearables shipped during the same quarter in 2014.
The gift-giving season is known to sap away at gadget lovers' budgets, but wearables were immune to the post-holiday shopping doldrums this year. IDC research manager Ramon Llamas, described this turn of events as "a strong sign for the wearables market," in a statement.
"It demonstrates growing end-user interest and the vendors' ability to deliver a diversity of devices and experiences," Llamas continued. "In addition, demand from emerging markets is on the rise and vendors are eager to meet these new opportunities."
Meanwhile, the effect of Apple's entry into the market – the Apple Watch didn't go on sale until April 24 – won't be known until the current quarter's figures are in. But the analyst firm already expects the highly-anticipated smartwatch to have a major impact.
"The Apple Watch will likely become the device that other wearables will be measured against, fairly or not," Llamas stated. "This will force the competition to up their game in order to stay on the leading edge of the market."
Apple's premium smartwatch also bucks the trend of tumbling prices, noted Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst at IDC.
"We now see over 40 percent of the devices priced under $100, and that's one reason why the top 5 vendors have been able to grow their dominance from two thirds of the market in the first quarter of last year to three quarters this quarter," he stated. "Despite this price erosion, Apple's entrance with a product priced at the high end of the spectrum will test consumers' willingness to pay a premium for a brand or product that is the center of attention."
Fitbit took the lead in 1Q15 with shipments of 3.9 million fitness and health tracking devices, earning the company a 34.2-percent share of the market. In second place is Xiaomi, whose affordable Mi Band fitness and sleep tracker proved popular enough in its home country of China to grab a 24.6-percent share of the worldwide wearables market with shipments 2.8 million units. Rounding out the top five are Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone, with shipments of under one million units each.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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