Commentary

Wearables Market Grows 35%; Apple Watch Dominates

The market for wearable bands has pretty much shaken out for the moment.

Left standing, in a big way, is Apple.

Overall shipments of wearable bands grew 35% to 21 million units in the first quarter of this year, according to a new tally by Canalys.

The money is in smartwatches, while overall wearable units shipped is ruled by basic bands. Smartwatches, where Apple excels, accounted for 80% of wearable band revenue. By number of units shipped, smartwatches accounted for 43% of the market.

Apple has emerged as the top wearable vendor -- shipping 4 million smartwatches in the quarter -- closely followed by Xiaomi in China and just 100,000 units behind Apple with its low-priced Mi Band dominating its shipments, to the tune of 90%.

Garmin and Fitbit are also still in the game. Garmin is now the second-largest smartwatch maker after Apple, with 1 million of its watches having shipped in the quarter.

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Fitbit, of fitness tracker fame, is betting on its new Versa smartwatch, while it introduces female health tracking to expand its market, according to Canalys. Smartwatches now make up about a quarter (24%) of Fitbit’s band shipments.

By units of wearable bands shipped in the quarter, here’s the breakdown by brand:

  • 18% -- Apple
  • 18% -- Xiaomi
  • 11% -- Fitbit
  • 7% --  Garmin
  • 6% --  Huawei

As wearable devices move to more independent connectiveness, without the need for a smartphone,  Apple is sitting pretty. Apple now accounts for 59% of the total cellular-enabled smartwatch market.

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