While the big Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) might reign supreme in most markets, the tech titan appears to have lost the Midas touch when it comes to leading in the global wearables market. Particularly considering its share of smart wearable devices sliced down to almost 57% on a year-over-year basis at the close of its second quarter, a harsh topple from 20% to 7% or 1.6 million from its earlier 3.6 million, it looks like Apple’s empire has encountered a bit of a crumble in the cracks.
It was only just a year and a half ago that Apple made its first strides into the wearables industry, sending its Apple Watch out into the world. Yet, as per research firm IDC, Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) is still outrunning the titan’s wearable innovation in the race as it boasts 25.4% share, with Apple falling third, bested for the first time by now second-place Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi at 14% share, although trailing ahead of Swiss tech company Garmin.
Even Lifesense, the dark horse in the race with low-cost fitness tracker Mambo that advertises a connection with Chinese popular messaging service WeChat, participated in AAPL’s fall from second place grace to its consequent third place plunge.
Part of Apple’s uphill battle comes with the turf. It is worthy to note that though IDC illustrates a wearable market well on the upturn to the sweet tune of 48.8% in growth, in the second quarter, all smart wearable devices substantially dipped by 27.2%. Considering it is already a saturated market with all smart wearables fighting for recognition, it makes sense that Apple’s first attempt in this specific industry might be flailing in the tumultuous winds of opposition and capitalism.
Whereas basic wearables, featuring fitness trackers in their simplest form, showcased a shining performance, smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, were caught amid a tussle of still searching to stand alone in the market. While basic wearables market practical functionality, it appears that consumers question the “why” when it comes to buying into the smart wearables hype.
IDC’s wearables research manager Ramon Llamas outlines the dilemma, explaining, “There is plenty of curiosity about what smart wearables – particularly smartwatches – can do, but they have yet to convince users that they are a must-have item.”
However, with the Apple Watch 2 anticipated to launch today at the titan’s much-discussed special event in California along with the unveiling of the iPhone 7/7Plus, perhaps this will be the company’s strategically aimed arrow to defy and capture the market, outclassing the competition. The Apple team is not likely going to take the defeat and sharp share stumble without plans for a comeback.
Thankfully, Apple still rules when it comes to its domain in smartphones and tablets, leaving the rumor mill chattering with bated breath for its next upgraded devices always released this time of year. This is a company that has a history of emerging victorious. The question arises with whether the titan can extend its strength to finding a way to excel in its most challenging market yet: wearables.