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The IDC's latest report predicts Apple and Google will lead the smartwatch market over the next four years, with Apple coming out on top.

By Jason Cipriani
September 14, 2015
September 14, 2015

While Apple AAPL is intent on keeping its Apple Watch sales numbers to itself, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the company’s smartwatch will continue to dominate the wearable and smart wearable market.

The latter device refers to wrist-worn gadgets that go beyond just counting steps or measuring fitness metrics, and include capabilities such as displaying alerts or running applications similar to those found on smartphones and tablets.

IDC’s new report suggests Apple will sell a total of 13.9 million smartwatches and secure 58.3% share of the market in 2015. However, by 2019, Apple will ship 40.3 million watches, but its share will drop to a respectable 47.4% share, according to the report.

Apple’s market share drop can be blamed on Android Wear’s rising popularity. The report forecasts Android Wear shipments will wrap-up 2015 with 17.4% of the market and sell 4.1 million units around the world (up from 720,000 just a year ago). By 2019 that number will eventually grow to 32.6 million with a 38.4% market share as more brands release there own wearable devices.

Android Wear’s growing market share is thanks, in part, to Google’s GOOGL operating system, which it shares with its hardware partners. The end result is a device lineup spanning both ends of the spectrum in pricing and quality.

Pebble—a company that brought one of the industry’s first smartwatches to market—will ship more devices in the future, but will see its overall market share decline. Low pricing combined with compatibility across multiple mobile platforms (similar to Android Wear) and the firms “avid fanbase” will help the company earn a 3.1% market share in 2019, down from 8.7% in 2015.

Meanwhile, Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC, paints a dire picture for wearable companies that offer less functionality. Urbani expects sales of smart wearables to “surpass the lower priced, less functional basic wearable category in 2018,” he explains. “Smart wearables will quickly move from a smartphone accessory primarily focused on notifications to a more advanced wearable computer capable of doing more processing on its own.”

In other words: Wearable companies like Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, and any other firm, currently producing a simpler wearable should start innovating and adding more functionality.

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