Skip to main content

Smart wearables market keeps growing as Fitbit and Xiaomi lead the way

Fitbit Ionic Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
While smartphone sales continue to grow, the wearable segment of the market also seems to be on the rise. According to a report from market research firm IDC, the wearables market grew as much as 7.3 percent in the third quarter, thanks largely to the rise of so-called “smart wearables.”

What are smart wearables? Well, IDC defines them as devices that can run third-party apps, while devices that can’t are defined as “basic wearables.”

“The differing trajectories for both smart and basic wearables underscore the ongoing evolution for the wearables market,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, in a blog post.

The wearable market in general has had a bit of a bumpy ride over the past few years. — leading us to question whether the market can survive at all. When the market first emerged with devices like the Pebble and eventually the original Apple Watch, many hailed wearables as the next big wave of tech that was poised to eventually take over the smartphone as our main way of connecting with the digital world. These days, wearables are seen more as an extension of the smartphone, and while some wearables, like the new Apple Watch, are getting LTE connectivity, they’re still not really billed as stand-alone devices.

Still, the new figures are promising for wearables in general. Fitbit and Xiaomi both had excellent years, and both ended in a statistical tie for first place in the wearables market. That’s actually bad news for Fitbit, which posted a decline in shipments, despite launching its first smartwatch — the Fitbit Ionic. Fitbit and Xiaomi ended with 13.7 percent of the wearable market each.

Apple, on the other hand, did see some growth — thanks in large part  to the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3, which boasts LTE connectivity. Apple comes in with 10.3 percent of the wearable market.

Perhaps most interesting is Huawei, which is fourth on the list. The company posted massive 156.4 percent year-over-year growth, thanks to its slew of new fitness bands and its new smart hearables, the Sport Pulse Earphones, which both play audio and track heart rate. Most of Huawei’s wearables shipments took place in China, but we’ll very possibly see Huawei move beyond China and into other markets in the near future.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Fitbit Charge 5 leaks show off a sleek fitness wearable
The Fitbit Charge 5 leaks in black and blue.

Fitbit is reportedly working on a new Fitbit Charge 5, and new renders surfacing this week give a good look at what we can expect. The report comes from leaker Snoopy on Twitter, and it features an attached video showing off the promotional material for the successor to the Charge 4.

According to the report, the upcoming 5 Charge 5 will cost $179, a $40 boost justified by a few quality-of-life changes. These could include swapping out the monochrome screen for a full-color one and adding in new sensors. Based on the video, sensors include built-in GPS, an EDA for stress-tracking management, an electrocardiogram (ECG) for heart tracking, an optical heart rate sensor, and an SpO2 sensor for tracking your blood oxygenation.  The biggest takeaway from the renders is a redesign of the previous model. The old design featuring sharp angles gives way to what appears to be a smooth, softer overall design with rounder corners. It could also come in different colors: Black, silver, and gold.

Read more
Fitbit Versa 3 vs. Apple Watch SE: Can Fitbit outrun Apple?
Fitbit Versa 3 on a wrist.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is arguably the best fitness-tracking smartwatch out today, particularly if you have less than $300 to spend. At only $230, it's highly comfortable and easy to use, while its tracking features are comprehensive for its price, covering heart rate and blood-oxygen sensors, the ability to monitor skin temperature, and built-in GPS. However, as good as it is, it isn't the only low-cost and high-functioning smartwatch. Another contender is the Apple Watch SE, which, despite being priced at around $300, does pretty much everything the more expensive Apple Watch Series 6 does, even throwing in a timer to ensure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Both devices have their strengths, but which is the best? We pit them against each other in a head-to-head comparison to find out. By looking at their specs, designs, displays, health and fitness tracking features, batteries, and special features, we also help you decide which is the right one for you.
Specs

Read more
Fitbit Inspire HR tips and tricks
Fitbit Inspire HR tips and tricks

Fitbit is still by many as the ruler of fitness trackers, and for good reason. The Fitbit Inspire HR may be an entry-level wearable fitness tracker from a few years ago now, but it's lost none of the flair that made it such a good choice back in 2019. Its slick, sleek presentation and no-nonsense approach to tracking meant Fitbit could keep the price down, but without compromising on any of the features you actually needed.

An old dog may not be able to learn new tricks, but this device still has plenty of features to explore. We walk you through some of our favorite Fitbit Inspire HR tips and tricks to help you use your fitness tracker to its fullest potential.
Setting up the Fitbit Inspire HR

Read more