This would have been quite a surprise if it weren’t for Fitbit’s earnings and sales report released just yesterday. While the American health, fitness and wellness tracking specialist obviously chose to focus on how its official Q1 2017 records exceeded analyst expectations with a small net loss per share, there was no denying shipment numbers were underwhelming, to say the least.
A year-over-year drop from 4.8 to 3 million units made it incredibly easy for Apple to claim the general wearables win in addition to yet another smartwatch trophy. Yes, Apple Watch sales actually surged, from 2.2 million copies back in Q1 2016 to 3.5M this January – March timeframe, although they predictably declined sequentially, from 4.6 mil during the holiday season.
But Fitbit couldn’t even cling on to the silver medal, as demand for Xiaomi’s popular ultra-low-cost Mi Band family stayed “broadly flat across its core markets of Asia.” Thus, the Chinese OEM only dipped 400K units compared to last year’s opening quarter, very closely following Apple in second place among Q1 2017’s wearable vendors, at 3.4 million unit shipments.
In terms of market share, Apple also enjoyed solid growth, from 12.1 to 15.9 percent, with Xiaomi down more than five percentage points, at 15.5, and Fitbit plunging from 24.7 to 13.2 percent. The “others” category accounted for no less than 55.5 percent of 22 million total global sales. That 22M tally, by the way, is up 21 percent from 18.2 million units between January and March 2016. So, no, wearable devices aren’t DOA, but like any other branch of the tech industry, they will continue to shift, fluctuate and mutate.