The market for wearable devices continues to grow. As indicated by a report published by market research firm IDC, wearables have now shown growth in terms of the number of shipments for eight straight quarters now.
For the first quarter of this year, there were 11.4 million units of wearable devices shipped across the globe. This number is easily three times as much as the 3.8 million units shipped during the same quarter exactly one year ago. This is extra remarkable because shipments of mobile products, let alone wearable devices, usually do not come strong in the first quarter of the year especially after a holiday season wherein consumers have just spent a lot of money buying new stuff for themselves or as presents for family and friends.
Wearable devices in general have been slow to catch on in the mobile industry. Even though lots of wearable devices, even from established mobile brand names like Motorola and LG, have already been introduced in the market, consumers have not quite taken to the idea of buying them.
But in the last year, we have seen significant improvement in the sales and shipments of wearable devices, especially now that more and more new wearable products are being introduced in the market. Perhaps the most high profile of them is the Apple Watch, which was officially launched in April 24th of this year. So far, Apple's wearable device offering has gained positive reception from consumers, and industry experts are even saying that the smartwatch has the best chance of galvanizing the entire wearables industry.
But is the Apple Watch the driving force behind the first quarter's numbers? Not really, Apple's product was released after the first three months of the year after all. The more likely culprit is the decrease in prices of wearable devices.
As explained by Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, more than 40 percent of wearable devices now are priced less than a hundred bucks, which may have encouraged consumers to finally start purchasing them.
But what happens in the second quarter though when smartwatches start competing with the Apple Watch, which starts at a rather costly $349 price? Will they bump up their prices too? It is hard to say for now. Having lower prices is an advantage in itself, but the Apple Watch's biggest draw is its features and capabilities, and in order to compete with that, other wearable device makers will have to level up the quality of their products, regardless if they are pricey or not. One thing is for sure though -- the second quarter of this year will most likely be another win-win for wearable devices.
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