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Wearable market mayhem: Apple closes in on FitBit, while Xiaomi hunts down Apple

FitBit Surge clock
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Despite its relative newness and high price, the Apple Watch is not struggling to win customers, taking second place overall with 18-percent market share, a new report from IDC reveals. Not bad considering it hasn’t been on sale for a year.

FitBit remains the leader in the wearables market, though not by much. It currently manages 22-percent of wearable shipments, sending out 4.7 million wearables compared to Apple’s 3.9 million. However, while Apple’s chasing down FitBit, Chinese brand Xiaomi is in turn hunting down Apple; and Android Wear is nowhere to be seen.

FitBit has been in the game a lot longer than its two rivals, and sells a range of models, from the inexpensive Zip to the $250 Surge, but has yet to launch a fully-fledged smartwatch. The wearable manufacturer has seen a rather steep drop in market share since last year, when it held 32 percent of the market. That said, FitBit is starting to attract the corporate crowd, selling 335,000 units through its Corporate Wellness program over the past few months, according to IDC.

Apple and FitBit haven’t secured first and second place forever. In third place it’s Xiaomi, which also only sells a couple of wearables, but for considerably less money than other manufacturers. This makes its 3.7 million sales over the past three months impressive, a figure no doubt assisted by Singles Day in China on November 11, at which time the company put the new Mi Band Pulse on sale. Following Singles Day, Xiaomi said the $15 Mi Band was its biggest selling smart device.

Further down the list, Garmin still holds onto fourth place, with 4.1 percent of the market, followed by BBK, a relatively unknown Chinese manufacturer. There are some big names missing from IDC’s top five list, and have presumably been relegated to its ‘Others’ category. Jawbone, a rival of FitBit, for example, and Samsung only crept into sixth with 600,000 shipments. Will the problematic Gear S2 improve things?

Android Wear manufacturers were absent from the top five, showing the significant gap in popularity between the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches. There are currently over ten smartwatches available from Asus, Motorola, Samsung, LG, and Sony, yet none have shipped more than 700,000 units, according to IDC’s data.

David Curry
Former Digital Trends Contributor
David has been writing about technology for several years, following the latest trends and covering the largest events. He is…
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