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Xiaomi and Apple Tie for the Top Position as the Wearables Market Swells 17.9% During the First Quarter, According to IDC

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The worldwide wearables market maintained its upward trajectory during the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) with Xiaomi and Apple leading all companies and multiple products experiencing double and triple digit growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, companies shipped a total of 24.7 million wearable devices during 1Q17, up 17.9% from the 20.9 million units shipped in 1Q16.

"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide. Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.

"However, by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation," continued Llamas. "With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets."

"The market is arguably still in the first phase of development, where companies are focused on seeding wearables into the market," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "It's all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device. And the opportunity remains very enticing for traditional and fashion watch brands as the scale of the consumer electronics market far surpasses their world.

"The second phase of development will be all about putting user data to good use," continued Ubrani. "This is when step counts translate into healthier hearts and minds. And it's also when we will start to see devices that actually augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on."

Company Highlights

Xiaomi started 2017 as the co-leader of the worldwide wearables market alongside Apple, having spent several years as the number two or three company. More than 96% of its shipment volume - primarily fitness tracking wristbands - remained within China, and many were shipped as part of smartphone bundles to consumers. The company is branching out from wristwear, having announced its "90 Minutes Ultra Smart Sportswear" shoes powered by Intel's Curie.

Apple saw sustained demand for its Watches nearly two quarters after the Series 1 and Series 2 versions launched to the market, and recorded the second highest year-over-year growth among the leading companies. The Series 1 and 2 have been a welcome change from the higher priced and undifferentiated experience found on the original Apple Watch from a year ago, attracting both first-time users and those seeking to replace their previous Watches.

Having led the wearables market for several years, Fitbit finds itself in third place to start off 2017. Still, the company believes that there is market need for fitness trackers with the launch of its Alta HR and continued popularity of its Charge 2 wristband and Blaze watch. Moreover, its recent acquisitions of Coin, Pebble, and Vector are expected to translate into the company's first smartwatch.

Samsung led all companies in year-over-year growth, nearly doubling its wearables volumes from a year ago. Driving volumes higher were its Gear S3 Frontier and Classic smartwatches, which in many markets had their first full quarter of availability, as well as its IconX headphones and Gear Fit 2 fitness band. Altogether, the diversification of products is several steps ahead of Samsung's smartwatch-only emphasis from a year ago.

Garmin's shift from basic wearables to smart wearables continued in earnest during 1Q17, with total volumes for each nearly equaling each other. Key to this was the addition of Vivo- and Fenix-branded smartwatches that address citizen athletes and outdoors enthusiasts with third party applications beyond health and fitness. The introduction of the Fenix 5 also boded well for the company as the smaller size made the watch accessible to a wider audience.

1Q17 Shipment Volumes

1Q17 Market Share

1Q16 Shipment Volumes

1Q16 Market Share

Year Over Year Change

Table Note:

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide market share (based on unit shipments) for the top 5 wearable device companies over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

About IDC Trackers IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, company share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

About IDC International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn.

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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