Smartwatch sales struggle

New data from research firm IDC shows people are opting for simple, cheap wearable devices and shunning smartwatches...for now.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The wearable device market is in its infancy and how this technology fits into consumers' lives is still evolving.

Fresh data shows while often pricey smartwatches were once expected to take the lead, basic wearables are dominating.

People want simple and inexpensive - below $200 - over pricier, multifunctional options says Nick Colas of Convergex.

"The smartwatch is just too complicated for most users and just doesn't yet integrate with our lives as well as the exercise and fitness tracker does. Over time I'm sure Silicon Valley will solve that problem but for right now the low end is where it's at," said Colas.

According to research firm IDC, overall shipments of wearables climbed 3.1 per cent worldwide in the third quarter.

Of that, basic wearables - mostly fitness bands led by Fitbit - account for 85 per cent of the market and saw double digit growth.

Shipments of the once sought after Apple Watch, which makes up roughly half of the smartwatch segment, however, tumbled more than 70 per cent.

Smartwatch shipments have declined for several quarters now and IDC expects that may not change in the near-term.

But like Colas, they say they're down but not out.

Smartwatch sales should pick up as interfaces and thus user experiences improve and as the desire for functionality beyond health and fitness grows.