Xiaomi and Apple were the top two global wearable shippers during the second quarter of 2017
According to analysis firm IDC, worldwide shipments of wearable devices rose 10.3% year-over-year during the second quarter of 2017. For the three-month period from April through June, a total of 26.3 million wearable units shipped. For the first time ever, basic wearable devices (which are those that don't run third party apps) had a year-over-year decline in shipments with an annual growth rate of -.9%. On the other hand (no pun intended), smartwatch shipments rose at an annual rate of 60.9% in the second quarter.
According to IDC's senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani, consumers are making a transition to more feature filled wearables. GPS and health tracking are becoming the usual features found on smartwatches. For example, last year only 24.5% of intelligent timepieces came with GPS embedded. Today, that figure is at 41.7%.
For the second quarter of 2017, the top wearable shipper was Xiaomi, with its 3.5 million units shipped edging out Apple's 3.4 million for the period. The company's main wearable product is the $20 Xiaomi Mi Band fitness tracker. The latter carries a 20-day battery life and an IP67 certification rating. The wearable is equipped with a fitness, heart-rate and sleep monitor. Shipments grew 13.7% year-over-year to give the company a leading 13.4% of the wearable market.
As we pointed out, Apple's 3.4 million Apple Watch units delivered from April through June fell just shy of Xiaomi's shipments. But for Apple, it still represented an outstanding increase of 49.7% year-over-year from the 2.1 million watches that the tech titan shipped in Q2 2016. Apple now owns 13% of the wearable market. With its Apple Watch Series 3 expected to be unveiled on September 12th carrying an embedded SIM card and an LTE radio, this new Apple Watch variant will reportedly make and take calls and connect to the internet without having to pair to a user's iPhone. This model could help Apple surpass Xiaomi in the rankings by the end of this year.
In third place just behind Apple was Fitbit. While the company delivered almost the same number of wearable devices as Apple did during the three months of the second quarter, it fell just short and its 12.9% market share during the three-month period also was just shy of Apple's share of the wearables market. The second quarter of 2017 was a godawful period for Fitbit as the 3.4 million wearable units shipped by the company was a drop of 40.9% from the 5.7 million the company shipped during the same quarter last year. Fitbit is broadening its product lineup to include smartwatches. It recently unveiled its first smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic. This transition means that Fitbit is losing focus, which just might be the reason behind its year-over-year struggle.
Garmin's 1.4 million wearable units shipped globally during the second quarter placed it fourth with a market share of 5.4%. During 2016's second quarter, Garmin had 1.5 million units in transit, which works out to a decline of 6.6% year-over-year. And the most improved performer in the second quarter among the top five wearable shippers globally was Fossil. The 1 million wearable units it shipped in the quarter was an impressive increase of 217.9% year-over-year. In 2016, Fossil delivered only 300,000 units. Its market share increased greatly from last year's 1.4% to this year's 4% share during the 2017 second quarter. Fossil's focus on fashion stores allowed it to do well with its smartwatches carrying the Michael Kors and Fossil names.