According to the new report by International Data Corporation, Xiaomi started 2017 as the co-leader of the worldwide wearables market alongside Apple, while worldwide quarterly wearable device tracker, companies shipped a total of 24.7 million wearable devices during 1Q17, up 17.9 percent from the 20.9 million units shipped in 1Q16.
The report said Apple saw sustained demand for its watches nearly two quarters after the Series 1 and Series 2 versions launched to the market and recorded the second highest year-over-year growth among the leading companies. The Series 1 and 2 have been a welcome change from the higher priced and undifferentiated experience found on the original Apple Watch from a year ago, attracting both first-time users and those seeking to replace their previous Watches.
It further said that having led the wearables market for several years, Fitbit finds itself in third place to start off 2017. Still, the company believes that there is the market need for fitness trackers with the launch of its Alta HR and continued popularity of its Charge 2 wristband and Blaze watch. Moreover, its recent acquisitions of Coin, Pebble, and Vector are expected to translate into the company's first smartwatch.
IDC pointed out that Samsung led all companies in year-over-year growth, nearly doubling its wearables volumes from a year ago. Driving volumes higher were its Gear S3 Frontier and Classic smartwatches, which in many markets had their first full quarter of availability, as well as its IconX headphones and Gear Fit 2 fitness band.
However, Garmin's shift from basic wearables to smart wearables continued in earnest during 1Q17, with total volumes for each nearly equaling each other. The key to this was the addition of Vivo- and Fenix-branded smartwatches that address citizen athletes and outdoors enthusiasts with third party applications beyond health and fitness. The introduction of the Fenix 5 also boded well for the company as the smaller size made the watch accessible to a wider audience.
"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team.
He said "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide. Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.