Apple Watch wave lifts sales across wearables market
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – In its first appearance in the wearables market, Apple finds itself within striking distance of the established market leader, Fitbit. According to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015, just 0.8 million units behind Fitbit's 4.4 million units.
Total shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1 million units, up 223.2% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 2Q14.
"Anytime Apple enters a new market, not only does it draw attention to itself, but to the market as a whole," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's wearables team. "Its participation benefits multiple players and platforms within the wearables ecosystem, and ultimately drives total volumes higher," he said. "Apple also forces other vendors – especially those that have been part of this market for multiple quarters – to re-evaluate their products and experiences. Fairly or not, Apple will become the stick against which other wearables are measured, and competing vendors need to stay current or ahead of Apple."
Apple's arrival had the greatest impact on the smart wearables category, or those devices capable of running third party applications. "About two of every three smart wearables shipped this quarter was an Apple Watch," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Apple has clearly garnered an impressive lead in this space and its dominance is expected to continue. And, although Fitbit outshipped Apple, it's worth noting that Fitbit only sells basic wearables – a category that is expected to lose share over the next few years, leaving Apple poised to become the next market leader for all wearables."
"Now that Apple is officially a part of the wearables market, everyone will be watching to see what other wearable devices it decides to launch, such as smart glasses or hearables," Llamas added.
In the short history of the wearable market, a clear divide has formed between smart wearables and basic wearables (devices that do not run third-party applications, and includes most fitness trackers). Price and functionality are the main differences between the two categories, and that gap is expected to widen over time. For vendors focused on basic wearables, the challenge will be to compete with the additional features offered by smart wearables while still turning a profit in the price sensitive basic wearables market.
IDC outlined each vendoer's quarterly hightlights:
- Fitbit's 2Q15 results reads as a list of successes: triple-digit year-over-year worldwide volume growth; double-digit year-over-year worldwide revenue and profit growth; expanded partnerships with corporate wellness groups, fashion and food companies; and increased visibility in the media. Fitbit resonates with customers because it has remained true to its simple value proposition of tracking fitness to encourage healthier lifestyles rather than promising the multi-purpose functionality that most smart watches have sought;
- Apple's first appearance in the wearables market finds it in the No. 2 position overall, and well within reach of market leader Fitbit. Apple is just getting started with its Watch, having reached just 16 geographic markets to date and starting agreements with third-party retailers. But what is most important is the continued development of the watch OS platform. At its WWDC in June, Apple announced that the next version of watch OS will allow for native applications, which could have a similar effect that iPhones enjoyed when native apps became available;
- Xiaomi made a fairly big splash when it entered the wearables market last year with its Mi Band. Since then its growth has been unstoppable in China as the vendor was quick to introduce rock-bottom prices. Xiaomi recently expanded into markets outside China although its limited distribution channels have been a dampening factor on its growth;
- Garmin's laser-like focus on fitness devices for "citizen athletes" (runners, cyclists and swimmers) has been successful so far, though increasing competition from the likes of Fitbit and Xiaomi has led to a reduction in share. Garmin's new ConnectIQ platform may help alleviate some of the pressure as it attempts to offer access to third party applications, data fields, watch faces and widgets to further customize its wearable devices.; and
- Samsung narrowly edged out Huawei and Jawbone to remain among the top 5 vendors during the quarter. The company saw sustained success with the popularity of its Gear S and Gear Fit devices, and hinted at a massively redesigned Gear S2 to be announced next month. Given Samsung's history of making its latest wearable devices compatible only with Samsung's top models and nearly exclusive reliance on Tizen, the company has limited its potential reach. Whether that trend continues with the Gear S2 will bear close observation.
Tender launches one-handed application line of bandages
LITTLETON, N.H. — Tender recently introduced its Easy Access Bandages, which can be applied using one hand. Available as part of a value pack, the bandages are packaged in portable, protective packs, arranged by color and feature a patented easy to open, grip-pull-stick system that makes bandage application quick.
“First aid should be as simple, easy and efficient as possible to be the most effective,” Tender’s director of product management Aaron Baumgarten said. “Our patented grip-pull-stick system allows for one-handed application for less mess, less contamination risk and an all-around better first aid experience."
Easy Access Bandages’ Value Pack includes 90 bandages that are secured in portable packs organized by size. A selection of flexible fabric and water-resistant bandages insures wet or dry wound coverage. Packs stay organized, are easy to find and slip easily into a purse or pocket without damage to the bandages.
The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $5.99.
Football legend Jerry Rice teaches healthy habits with Lysol
PARSIPPANY, N.J. — In his second year as the Lysol Healthy Habits Coach, football legend Jerry Rice is challenging a group of promising high school student athletes from across the nation to be part of "America's Healthiest Team." After embarking on a special summer training program, each student will be put to the ultimate test on Wednesday in New York as Rice plays alongside them in their own sport, whether it's basketball, track and field, volleyball or soccer.
The reason behind the challenge? Millions of school days are missed each year due to common illnesses like cold and flu, which means that American students are missing millions of hours in the classroom and on the field. That's why Lysol, a Reckitt Benckiser brand, is striving to reduce those hours missed by encouraging healthy habits – simple behaviors like regular hand washing and surface disinfection. The summer training program emphasized the importance of practicing healthy habits to help set up students for success.
"The only way to bring your best game – every time – is by practicing healthy habits," said Rice. "Prioritizing my health and avoiding germs helped me set NFL records and play more than 300 games in my career. I am excited to share this knowledge with kids to help them stay healthy and achieve their own personal best."
The unconventional 10-week, healthy habits-infused training program focused on incorporating simple healthy behaviors – like regular hand washing and disinfecting surfaces – into daily routines to help prevent the spread of illness-causing germs. During the workshop in New York, each student will have a chance to play one-on-one alongside Rice and show how healthy habits helped them improve their athletic personal best. As these student athletes head back to high school, they'll serve as Healthy Habits Ambassadors, passing the importance of germ prevention along to their teammates and peers.
"As part of the Lysol mission, we are committed to sharing information and products with students, parents and teachers that help keep both schools and homes healthy," said Conor O'Brien, marketing director, Lysol. "With products like Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfectant Spray, you're armed with the ability to kill 99.9 percent of germs on commonly touched surfaces, like doorknobs and tabletops. This is especially important in public environments like schools."
The Lysol Healthy Habits Program, now in its third year, was developed in collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association. The program, which was created with the goals of helping children establish a foundation of healthy habits and setting them up for success inside and outside the classroom, has reached more than 78,000 elementary schools, 2 million teachers and 55 million students to date.
The cornerstone of the program is the Lysol Healthy Habits Bus, an interactive science museum on wheels that travels to schools across the U.S., educating elementary students about germs and proper hygiene. Students and families across the country can join the movement by celebrating the third annual Healthy Habits Week, which kicks off on September 21, 2015. During this week, Lysol, PTA and NEA encourage teachers, parents and students to dedicate time to learning about and practicing healthy habits, and have created engaging educational materials, such as lesson plans, posters, literature and activity guides that can be downloaded online at Lysol.com/HealthyHabits.
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