Sales of wearables to jump, as Android starts to catch up to Apple

Smartwatches will make up a quarter of wearable shipments this year, growing to a third by 2020

Makers of wearable computing devices will ship 110 million products in 2016, a big increase from 2015, with Android Wear smartwatches starting to catch up to Apple watchOS devices, IDC predicted.

The number of wearable devices shipped during the year should grow by more than 38 percent from 2015, IDC said Thursday. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Android Wear often "capture the spotlight," but other wearable devices make up most of the market, Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement.

Shipments of smartwatches running Android Wear will grow by an average of 48 percent a year between 2016 and 2020, IDC predicted. Smartwatches using Apple's watchOS will also grow, but only by 22 percent a year, the analyst firm said.

By 2020, Apple will hold a 37.6 market share in smartwatch OSes, and Android Wear a 35 percent share, IDC said.

Fitness trackers now make up a big chunk of wearable sales. Fitness tracker maker Fitbit had nearly 30 percent of the global wearable market share at the end of 2015.

Smartwatches will, however, grow to about a third of the wearable devices shipped in 2020, Ubrani said. One area for potential growth is products from traditional watch makers that include fitness or sleep tracking functionality, he added.

There is "plenty of room for simpler devices" that appeal to people who aren't technophiles, Ubrani said.

The wearables market generate double-digit percentage growth through 2020, with an estimated 237.1 devices shipped that year, IDC predicted.

Watch and wristband wearable shipments will reach 100 million units in 2016, up from 72.2 million in 2015, IDC said. Other form factors, including clothing, eyewear, and so-called hearables, or smart earbuds, will reach 9.8 million units in 2016, it said.

Wearable vendors, led by Fitbit and Apple, shipped 27.4 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2015, up 126.9 percent from the last quarter of 2014, IDC reported last month.

IDC sees Apple's watchOS as maintaining its top market share among smartwatch OSes through 2020. About 14 million smartwatches running watchOS will ship in 2016, and 31 million in 2020, IDC predicted.

The Android Wear OS will nearly catch Apple, however, IDC predicted. About 6.1 million smartwatches running Android Wear will ship in 2016, and 28.8 million in 2020, IDC said.

The Real-Time Operating System, favored by some Chinese device makers, will ship on 8.3 million smartwatches in 2020, up from 1.4 million in 2016, IDC said.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Getting your business ready for the Entrepreneurial Consumer

We all know the digital revolution has completely transformed the way consumers are interacting with brands, and that a lot of businesses are finding it hard to catch up. One way to closing this brand gap is to understand consumer behaviour and build a brand experience that meets these new needs.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in