Apple overtakes ‘shrinking’ FitBit to claim wearables crown

Wearables Q1 2017

Apple is now the world’s largest wearables vendor after overtaking previous market leader FitBit, new research suggests.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, Apple was responsible for 16% of the 22 million units that were shipped in the first quarter of 2017, taking it past FitBit in the process.

It claims FitBit has a “major fight on its hands” after suffering declines in shipments, revenue, pricing and profit.

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Steven Waltzer, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units in Q1 2017, rising 21% annually from 18.2 million in Q1 2016. Stronger demand for new smartwatch models in North America, Western Europe and Asia drove the uptick.”

Apple shipped 3.5 million wearables worldwide during the three-month period, a 59% rise annually from 2.2 million units in Q1 2016.

Strategy Analytics noted that the new Apple Watch Series 2 is selling relatively well in the US, UK and elsewhere, due to enhanced styling, intensive marketing and a good retail presence.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi shipped 3.4 million wearables, giving it 15% market share worldwide in Q1. Demand for its popular Mi Band fitness range was broadly flat across its core markets of Asia.

Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics, said: “Fitbit shipped 2.9 million wearables worldwide in Q1 2017, falling a huge 36% annually from 4.5 million in Q1 2016. Fitbit has lost its wearables leadership to Apple, due to slowing demand for its fitnessbands and a late entry to the emerging smartwatch market. Fitbit’s shipments, revenue, pricing and profit are all shrinking at the moment and the company has a major fight on its hands to recover this year.”

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