It’s the first time that wearables have been mentioned in a Verizon conference call in the past five years, according to FactSet, and the first time that wearables have been a category big enough to mention in a Verizon earnings release.
The “other devices” category also includes MiFi devices, for instance, a spokesperson said. But wearables are now the leader of the category, including many watches with LTE coverage. Wearables unseated Verizon’s own product, smart car technology “Hum,” which led the “other” devices category this time last year.
The rising popularity of wearables could be a good omen for companies such as Apple that are betting big on cellular in smartwatches. Verizon’s wearables section also includes FitBits and Garmins, VR headsets from Samsung and Google, and smartwatches from Fossil.
Apple has never disclosed smartwatch sales, lumping them in with devices like the Apple TV and earbuds. But Apple’s “other products” category grew revenue 23 percent year over year last quarter, before the release of the new Apple Watch.
Verizon’s reporting change seems to support reports from GBH Insights and IDC indicating that smartwatches are gaining traction among mainstream consumers.
“Previous niche features such as GPS and additional health tracking capabilities are quickly becoming staples of the modern smartwatch,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, wrote in August, just before the launch of the new Apple Watch.