The Apple Watch may hold the title of being the most popular smartwatch existing today (it certainly is the most visible, being an Apple product and all), but unbeknownst to many, it is actually not the market leader when it comes to wearable devices. As a matter of fact, that honor goes to Fitbit.
But Fitbit’s lead is shrinking right now and may be gone soon -- because the Apple Watch is quickly gaining on it. According to market research firm IDC’s latest quarterly report on the wearables industry, the Apple Watch is catching up to Fitbit in terms of the volume of shipments during the second quarter. Indeed, even though Fitbit managed to ship 4.4 million units of wearable devices from April to June this year, the Apple Watch is not far behind with 3.5 million units shipped (which represents 20 percent of the wearables market) during the same period.
Fitbit became the first manufacturer of wearable devices to become a publicly traded company in June earlier this year. The company posted triple digit shipment growth from a year ago, but since it only sells basic wearable devices, IDC believes that Fitbit will eventually see its market share erode in the coming years.
As for Apple, it has only really started entering into the wearables, and it is already making waves in the industry. This is pretty remarkable considering that its first and only wearable device to date, the Apple Watch, has only been released in the market since April of this year. Of course, it helps that it carries the Apple brand, and consumers, especially Apple fans, are always willing to try out anything new introduced by the company.
The introduction of the Apple Watch has certainly shaken up the wearables industry, and may have attracted more attention to wearable devices in general, which include not only smartwatches, but also fitness bands, smart eyewear, and others, now more than ever before. Industry watchers now expect the total volume of shipments of wearable devices to increase to 126 million units by the year 2019 -- that is a significant improvement from the almost 20 million units shipped in 2014. Still, there are certain circles that doubt wearable devices will ever be mainstream consumer items.
IDC’s report also revealed that after FitBit and the Apple Watch, the next wearables player on its list is Xiaomi, with 3.1 million units of wearable devices shipped during the second quarter of 2015. Completing the top five are Garmin and Samsung.
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