Wearables pioneer Fitbit saw its unit sales sales spike by 100 per cent in the last quarter. The result helped it maintain its market share leadership according to new figures released by global market intelligence firm IDC.
The good news for all participants is that the overall market tripled in unit sales, and not just off the back of cheap Chinese knock-offs.
Fitbit shipped 4.7 million units, still comfortably ahead of Apple’ iWatch at just under 4 million.
“The early stages of the wearables market have led to tight competition among the leading vendors, and Chinese vendors have seized upon market momentum to grab market share,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team.
“China has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing wearables market, attracting companies eager to compete on price and feature sets. In addition, multiple vendors have experimented with a broad range of products and applications. The challenge, however, is whether these vendors can expand their presence, as few have extended beyond the country’s borders and into other markets.”
IDC says that while there has been clear growth in the wearable market, there has been little sign of product cannibalisation. “Smart watches have drawn increased attention to the market from the likes of Apple, Motorola, Pebble, and Samsung, but this has not dampened interest in fitness trackers. By the end of 3Q15, shipment volumes for both product categories increased sequentially and year over year, showing that, for now, the categories can co-exist and grow. This also provides end users with choice in terms of feature sets and functionalities, ranging from simple fitness tracking to smartphone-like experiences.”
According to business intelligence site Statista, “Fitbit’s focus on fitness tracking functionality continues to resonate well with customers and the company’s strategy to market its devices to large corporations as part of corporate health initiatives is paying off.”
Apple’s result was tepid compared to Fitbit. And it risks being tipped into third place by Chinese brand Mi from Xiaomi .
In its report Statista noted, “Xiaomi came close to matching Apple’s shipment volume, albeit with a device that costs a fraction of the Apple Watch. The company’s low-cost Mi Band is particularly popular in China and has yet to make a significant impact in Western markets.”