Story image

Global wearables market grows 17.9 percent - and we have a new leader

09 Jun 2017

The worldwide wearables market continued its rapid rise in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) with Xiaomi and Apple at the top of the pile and multiple products experiencing double and even triple-digit growth.

The research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 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.

Research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, Ramon Llamas says Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products.

"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,” says Llamas.

“Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.”

However, Llamas says by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation as with a substantial user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets.

Senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani says the market is arguably still in the first phase of development where companies are focused on seeding wearables into the market.

"It's all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device. And the opportunity remains very enticing for traditional and fashion watch brands as the scale of the consumer electronics market far surpasses their world.

"The second phase of development will be all about putting user data to good use," says 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."

Xiaomi started 2017 as the co-leader of the worldwide wearables market alongside Apple, having spent several years as the number two or three company. More than 96 percent of its shipment volume – primarily fitness tracking wristbands – remained within China, although the company is now branching out from wristwear, having announced its "90 Minutes Ultra Smart Sportswear" shoes powered by Intel's Curie.

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.

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 market need for fitness trackers with the launch of its Alta HR and continued popularity of its Charge 2 wristband and Blaze watch. 

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.

Garmin's shift from basic wearables to smart wearables continued in earnest during 1Q17, with total volumes for each nearly equaling each other.

Microsoft appoints new commercial and partner business director
Bowden already has almost a decade of Microsoft relationship management experience under her belt, having joined the business in 2010.
Zoom’s new Rooms and Meetings features
Zoom has released information about the upcoming releases for its Rooms and Meeting offerings for 2019.
Aussie company set to democratise direct-to-orbit IoT access
Adelaide-based Myriota has released a developer toolkit that has been trialled and tested by a smart waste management platform.
Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
Dynatrace takes pole position in APM Magic Quadrant
It placed highest on Ability to Execute and furthest on Completeness of Vision in the 2019 Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
HCL and Xerox expand strategic partnership
Under the terms of the agreement, HCL will manage portions of Xerox’s shared services, including global administrative and support functions.
Avaya expands integration with Google Cloud AI
This includes embedding Google’s machine learning within conversation services for the contact centre, enabling integration of AI capabilities.
Forrester names Crowdstrike leader in incident response
The report provides an in-depth evaluation of the top 15 IR service providers across 11 criteria.