Fitbit rules wearables roost, but Xiaomi a shock second

4 Jun 2015

Fitbit has doubled its sales in wearable devices in a year according to IDC’s Q1 results, but Xiaomi’s explosion onto the scene following Mi Band’s success proves the market is still in its infancy.

Considering the Apple Watch came out after this research – predicted to really kick-start the entire wearables industry – it’s perhaps unfair to read too much into findings that don’t even see Sony placing in the top 5.

Yet Fitbit more than doubling to almost four million sales still catches the eye, gaining a market share of almost half, up 130pc on last year.

Xiaomi’s Mi Band came out last summer, so it didn’t even feature in last year’s readings and, with several other major releases expected this year, it will no doubt all change in 2016.

It’s an industry growing at 200pc, yet more evidence of an infant market heading towards serious, medium-term growth. Another key is the fact this major rise came in Q1, a traditionally slow area of technology sales following the madness of the pre-Christmas rush.

IDC werables market, via IDC

IDC werables market, via IDC

“Bucking the post-holiday decline normally associated with the first quarter is a strong sign for the wearables market,” said IDC’s Ramon Llamas. “It demonstrates growing end-user interest and the vendors’ ability to deliver a diversity of devices and experiences. In addition, demand from emerging markets is on the rise and vendors are eager to meet these new opportunities.”

Garmin, one of the grandfathers of the industry, came in third, which surprised me a bit considering its devices span multiple areas of health and fitness, including activity tracking, running, hiking, golfing, triathlons, and multi-sport.

Samsung’s Gear devices nabbed the Korean company fourth spot, with Jawbone beating Pebble and Sony to place fifth.

“As with any young market, price erosion has been quite drastic,” said IDC’s Jitesh Ubrani. “We now see more than 40pc of the devices priced under US$100, and that’s one reason why the top 5 vendors have been able to grow their dominance from two thirds of the market in the first quarter of last year to three quarters this quarter.

“Despite this price erosion, Apple’s entrance with a product priced at the high end of the spectrum will test consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for a brand or product that is the centre of attention.”

Fitbit image via Joe Gambill, on Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic