Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Smartphones vs Wearables: Trend Analysis

Wearables are truly up and coming, and the inclination of big tech manufacturers to set up separate and specialised divisions just for smartwatches and wearable devices proves the growing markets. Fuelled by movements such as the Quantified Self movement and other fitness/tracking revolutions, wearables are getting a momentum like never before.

But how far has the wearable trend come along? What are the scopes for improvement, and what do the numbers state? In this article, I talk about how wearables have grown in comparison to smartphones in the recent months.


Taking care of the benchmark for the comparison in this regard, smartphone shipments have truly grown. Like I’ve mentioned in many of my earlier articles, hardware is becoming cheaper, which is a driving force behind the increasing shipments.

Coming to the global smartphone market share based on unit shipments, a lot of interesting trends can be seen while comparing Q2 2014 and Q2 2015 figures. We’ve seen a decline in the stronghold of Samsung, and a rise in market share by Apple. Interesting to note is the presence of Chinese players Huawei and Xiaomi, who are taking the world by storm because of their aggressively priced products.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)


The total shipments in Q2 2014 for smartphones was 302.1 million units, while in Q2 2015 it was 337.2 million units globally.


Coming to the crux of my article here, wearables have truly grown in numbers. There has been a manifold growth in shipments from 2014 to 2015, as demonstrated in the following statistic.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)

Looking at just the Q1 shipment figures, it is evident that this is the era of wearables. 3.8 million units in 2014 tripled itself over in just a year’s span, and that’s saying a lot.


If I talk about the 2014 statistic regarding smartwatch manufacturers, the top 10 manufacturers were led by Samsung, with over 1.2 million shipments globally. True blue wearable manufacturers such as Pebble, Fitbit, Garmin, Polar and Withings were present as well.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)

But jump over to 2015, and the statistics have changed dramatically. Jawbone has climbed the ranks phenomenally, and Samsung has dropped by a very large margin.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)

In fact, Xiaomi has an interesting presence in this regard. The Chinese smartphone giant was not even involved in the wearable market till 2014, and in 2015 they jumped from a 0% market share to a whopping 25% in just one year. The reason for this crazy rise? A simple, low cost fitness tracker, that actually sells at a price less than that of a large pizza!

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)



Talk about wearables, and perhaps one of the most popular ones in recent times would be the Apple Watch. We’ve already discussed it and context usage in an earlier article, and it is actually quite interesting to see the rise in popularity of the Apple Watch when compared to the original iPhone and iPad immediately after launch.


Now although the initial demand for the Apple Watch wasn’t that high, the final standing of the popularity graphs is worth noting. The Apple Watch is funnily more popular than the original iPhone, when indexed against it with the corresponding weeks after launch. It shows a paradigm shift of consumer tendencies towards wearables!


Pardon me for being slightly partial to the Chinese company, but Xiaomi is really making it big everywhere! In Q2 2014, they had a 4.6% market share in the area of smartphones, and this number grew to 5.3% in Q2 2015. But what is actually intriguing to note is the shift in the wearable statistics, and like I’ve mentioned before, it is all thanks to the ridiculously inexpensive Mi Band!

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)


Now let’s compare how smartphones did with wearables, overall.

First off, shipments. No awards for guessing who wins this round, and the huge numbers of smartphone shipments make the wearable shipments dwindle in comparison.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)

But look a little further, and you’ll see where wearables truly outshine. the Q1 shipments over 2014 and 2015 show that wearables have tripled themselves in the sales volumes.

And that brings me to the Year-over-Year growth figures.

(Data Source: IDC, Statista)

Boom. Where smartphones grew by a meagre 11.60% YoY, Wearables grew by over 200%!


Wearables might not have big numbers so far in terms of sales and shipments, but the numbers are definitely huge in the growth rate figures. Consumers are taking a huge interest in wearables and fitness trackers, and we predict a lot of sub-markets emerging in the wearable arena, and the presence of more and more players in the coming time!

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