Fitbit sold more wearables in 2016 than Apple and Samsung combined

While Apple doesn't break out specifics for Apple Watch sales, it did say it achieved record numbers for both units and revenue during the important holiday period. Garmin dipped to 2.1 million from 2.2 million in Q4 2015 although it did manage to significantly raise its average selling price to Dollars 258 in the fourth quarter from under USD 200 previous year. In fact, fitness trackers and smartwatches are selling better then ever according to figures just released by the IDC.

Launched in August 2014 at the peak of the wearable craze, Xiaomi's first generation of Mi Bands have become a quick sell thanks to decent product design and affordable prices (~13 USD), a combo that gives entry-level users quick access to try out the novel products. Shipments increased by 25% in 2016 to reach 102.4 million units, a new all-time high.

Smart wearables, which are able to run third-party apps, are evolving as well, and again, the focus is on fitness and health applications, Llamas continued.

"With the entrance of multiple new vendors with strengths in different industries, the wearables market is expected to maintain a positive outlook, though much of this growth is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand", sais IDC senior research manager Jitesh Ubrani. This will also solve another key issue: "freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience", he was quoted.

Improving shipments of ear-worn devices, referred to in the report as "hearables", and clothing with sensors woven in, while still relatively tiny, showed promise that the market is becoming about more than just wrist-worn devices, according to IDC. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of Global Positioning System on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence.

In the case of Xiaomi, it had adhered to a low-priced strategy and slowly trying to move upwards in terms of pricing, launching new devices with heart-rate monitoring and a slightly higher price. As a result, the company could occupy the fifth slot in the wearable segment.

  • Patricia Jimenez