Xiaomi is the leader in the wearable space, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quaterly Wearable Device Tracker. The Chinese company shipped 3.6 million units in Q1 2017, grabbing the market share of 14.7 per cent ahead of Apple’s 14. 6 per cent.
But while Xiaomi sells primarily low-cost wearables, Apple sells premium smartwatches in the form of Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2. Apple’s shipments rose by 64 per cent in the first quarter, while Xiaomi slipped by 3.3 per cent. More than 96 per cent of Xiaomi’s wearable shipments were in China, IDC said. Most of those shipments were of fitness tracking bands and many were shipped as part of smartphone bundles to consumers.
Apple has seen steady demand of its smartwatches after the release of the Series 1 and Series 2. Both the Series 1 and Series 2 have been a ‘welcome change’ from the higher priced Apple Watch, which was launched a year ago. Apple is due to launch the Watch Series 3 in September along side the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s series.
The previous market leader in the wearable segment, Fitbit has fallen into third place with 3 million units and 12.3 per cent market share. While the company still sees the demand for fitness trackers with the launch of the Alta HR and Charge 2 devices, Fitbit may soon launch its smartwatch, which is expected to go official later this year. Its shipments fell 37.7 per cent in Q1 2017.
Surprisingly, Samsung posted the fastest growth year-over-year among the top five vendors. Its shipments rose by 90.8 per cent to 1.4 million units in the first quarter. Samsung sells fitness trackers as well as premium smartwatches including the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic. The South Korean company had 5.5 per cent market share in Q1 2017.
Garmin pulled in fifth with a market share of 4.6 per cent. It sold 1.1 million units in the first quarter. The company has been selling budget fitness trackers to high-end smartwatches. Its smart fitness wearables mostly target athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
A total of 24.7 million wearable devices were shipped during the first quarter, up 17.9 per cent from the 20.9 million units shipped in the first quarter last year.
“The market is arguably still in the first phase of development, where companies are focused on seeding wearables into the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “It’s all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device”, Ubrani added.
“The second phase of development will be all about putting user data to good use,” continued Ubrani. “This is when step counts translate into healthier hearts and minds. And it’s also when we will start to see devices that actually augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on.”