Global wearable sales surges reported for both Q4 and full-year 2016, Fitbit still on top

Smartwatches still make up only a small part of the global wearables market, with Fitbit at the top of the overall industry ranks for both Q4 and full-year 2016, according to fresh IDC research.

The International Data Corporation claims in no uncertain terms that wearable devices have a bright future ahead of them, as they finally start to offer compelling selling points. Many activity trackers are no longer basic and “single-purpose”, gaining capabilities formerly exclusive to smartwatches, while the latter category increases its general focus on health and fitness, also improving standalone experiences.

At the end of the day year, a total of 33.9 million units were shipped worldwide between October and December, bringing the 2016 tally to 102.4M. That’s significantly up from 29 and 81.9 mil respectively during 2015, despite a big decline in fourth-quarter demand for products sold by market leader Fitbit.

Even with (presumably low) Pebble and Vector numbers added in, the American company saw its share plunge from 29 to 19.2 percent year-on-year, whereas China’s Xiaomi impressively surged from 9.1 to 15.2 percent.

In third place, Apple enjoyed a record-breaking three months, beating Garmin and Samsung 4.6 to 2.1 and 1.9 percent respectively. The same exact top five vendors retained their positions in the overall 2016 classification, with Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin and Samsung up in sales figures, Fitbit and Garmin down in share, and Apple down in both shipments and share.

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Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).