Fitbit remains top wearable vendor in Q1, according to IDC

The research firm ​said total shipment volumes increased 67 percent in Q1 to reach 19.7 million units.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Shipments of wearable devices continued to rise in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest data from IDC.

The research firm said total shipment volumes increased 67 percent in Q1 to reach 19.7 million units, up from the 11.8 million units shipped in the same quarter a year ago.

Fitbit continues to dominate as the leading wearable device vendor, with Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin and Samsung rounding out the top five, respectively. The big news here is that Apple lost its No. 2 position to Xiaomi after the Chinese manufacturer expanded its line of inexpensive fitness trackers. However, Xiaomi's success is, for the most part, limited to China.

When split between smart and basic wearables, the leaderboards shift slightly: Apple tops Samsung and Motorola as the No. 1 smart wearable vendor; Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin take the top three spots in the basic wearables sector.

But even though IDC breaks out separate figures for smart and basic wearable shipments, the research firm considers the two categories to be equally important when considering longterm growth of the market.

"It's shortsighted to think that basic wearables and smart watches are in competition with each other," said said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers. "Right now, we see both as essential to expand the overall market. The unique feature sets combined with substantial differences in price and performance sets each category apart, and leaves plenty of room for both to grow over the next few years."

Overall, IDC said the wearable device market is healthy, despite smaller companies downsizing or shutting down entirely. For the larger players, growth during the first quarter is attributed to post-holiday price reductions on wearables such as Apple's Sport Watch and the introduction of new wearable technology options in clothing and footwear.

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