What’s the top wearable technology brand? No, it’s not one named after a fruit. It’s the (relatively) humble Fitbit (as pictured), which managed to keep its lead in the global wearables sector in Q3, despite both Apple and Xiaomi giving it a run for its money in second and third places.
The latest sector report from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), said Fitbit’s total shipment volume was 21 million units, with a massive rise of nearly 200% year-on-year.
Apple’s presence on the list is no surprise given that it finally released its much-hyped Apple Watch this year. And Xiaomi is unsurprising too as China is the fastest-growing wearables market globally and that’s where most of its sales are made.
So what devices were the stars of the sector? Fitbit’s Charge and Surge models proved to be topsellers, as did Xiaomi’s ultra-affordable Mi band. And of course, THAT watch.
Interestingly, despite all the hype around the high-end version of the Apple Watch and Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendt’s work to make the company’s stores a more luxury experience, the device that sold best was the entry-level Sport line. Anyone who bought a more expensive one might be a little miffed at the moment, given that Best Buy has dropped Apple Watch prices by around $100 as part of a Holiday season promotion and rumours are flying that Apple will announce an improved, next generation watch in March 2016.
Whether Apple Watch 2 offers anything truly new we won’t know for a few months. But for now it seems that between the Apple Watch Sport, the Mi band, the Fitbit Charge and Surge, and fourth-placed Garmin’s wide range of fitness devices, wearable technology still hasn’t made a big-league leap out of the fitness sector… yet.
But in order to meet the ambitious growth that’s expected for it, wearable tech will have to fit more into our everyday non-fitness-focused lives too. IDC forecasts that 72.1 million wearable devices will have been shipped by the end of this year, compared with only 26.4 million last year.
But in the next five years, there should be annual volume sales of 150 million devices. Whether those 150 million items a year will be more than just new types of fitness tracker, we’ll have to wait and see.
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday