Companies shipped a total of 24.7 million wearable devices during the first quarter of the year, up 17.9 percent from the 20.9 million units shipped in the same period last year. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, Xiaomi and Apple experienced the biggest growth.
"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team, said in a statement. "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."
Fitbit, however, should not be removed from the wearables conversation, continued Llamas, adding that they have a user base of 50 million, as well as a strong presence within corporate wellness and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, all which allow the company to move into new segments and markets.
Top 5 players
Xiaomi started 2017 as the co-leader of the worldwide wearables market alongside Apple, though more than 96% of its shipment volume remained within China. The company, however, is branching out from wristwear, having announced its "90 Minutes Ultra Smart Sportswear" shoes powered by Intel's Curie.
Apple on its end 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.
As for Fitbit, it finds itself in third place to start off 2017. Still, the company believes that there is 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.
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.
Finally, Garmin's new Vivo- and Fenix-branded helped the company keep the volume in Q1 2017.