Apple wrests control of record-breaking wearables market

Apple shipped 8 million wearables in 4Q17

With eight million shipments in the fourth quarter, Apple has become the leader in the global wearables market, a report by International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker has said.

Apple was the big mover thanks to a surge in smartwatch volume shipments, which saw the tech giant move past major competitors Fitbit and Xiaomi to claim the top spot in the market for both the quarter and the year.

That was ahead of Xiaomi (13.6 percent) and Fitbit (13.3 percent) for the full year, IDC said.

With respect to marketshare during the 2017 holiday quarter, Fitbit came in second place with a 14.2% share, followed by Xiaomi and Garmin with respective shares of 14.2 and 13%.

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For the full year, total wearable device shipments reached 115.4 million units, up 10.3 percent from the 104.6 million in 2016. Interestingly, it had nothing to say on Fossil, which was the fifth-ranked wearables vendor for the year but not a leader for the quarter. With numerous brands leaving the market due to too much competition, Apple just sees more area to be conquered with 21% of the market already dominated by them.

It is predicted that the next generation of wearables will make the current ones look quaint. The market surged 27.3% between 2015 and 2016, but a year ago that same growth rate was only 10.3%.

U.S. tech-giant Apple's introduction of the Apple Watch Series 3 in September 2017 is slowly but surely cornering the wearables market.

Fitbit continued to adapt to the market after implementing broader distribution and promotion of its Ionic smartwatch and continued application development for its Fitbit OS platform. It also took steps to deepen its reach in healthcare, including partnerships with Dexcom and United Healthcare and participation in the FDA's precertification programme and the National Institutes of Health's Precision Medicine Research Program. The company's focus remain on its home region of China with under 15 percent of its volumes going elsewhere.

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At Garmin, which focuses on fitness and outdoor users, shipments increased 5% to 2.5 million.

Huawei managed to have the largest growth amongst the top 5 as its recent third generation wrist bands have continued to gain popularity in China and helped the company become the number two wearables marker within the country.

In contrast to the Apple Watch, Fitbit has a lot more device options.

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