It appears that 2015 was both a good year and a bad year for Fitbit. The company finished last year as (still) the king of the wearables industry, but it saw its market share continue to decrease. According to market research firm IDC, the shipment volume of Fitbit’s widely popular activity tracker devices increased to 21 million units in 2015, a significant improvement compared to the 11 million units it registered the year before. But alas, the company’s market share decreased considerably -- back in 2014, Fitbit enjoyed a 38 percent market share, but as of the end of 2015, its market share is down to just 27 percent.
With strong global expansion efforts, corporate wellness initiatives, and consistent product diversification drives, Fitbit remains the dominant player when it comes wearable devices. It also helped that the release of new wearable device offerings, such as the soon to be launched Fitbit Blaze smartwatch, and its fashion fitness band Fitness Alta continue to attract buyers from around the world.
However, the growing popularity of the Apple Watch, the first and only wearable device so far from Apple, is beginning to eat away at Fitbit’s dominance. Also, low cost wearable devices from Chinese mobile manufacturers such as Xiaomi are starting to threaten the industry leader. Still, despite the tough competition, Fitbit did manage to increase its market share for the final quarter of 2015, reaching 29.5 percent in the last three months of the year compared to the 22.2 percent market share it posted the previous quarter.
As for wearable devices in general, they still have not reached mainstream status yet. There is some progress though, with a little help from the Apple Watch. It interesting to note too that fitness trackers (such as those produced by Fitbit) have always trumped smartwatch devices in terms of sales. However, smartwatches are beginning to catch up especially in terms of market share, but without considerably reducing the volume of fitness band shipments. In other words, it seems that there is plenty of room for both fitness trackers and smartwatches to share in the wearables market.
Per IDC’s estimates, Xiaomi finished the year second with shipments of 12 million units of its fitness trackers (e.g. Mi Band, Mi Band Pulse), while Apple is third with shipments of 11.6 million units of its Apple Watch devices. Garmin took fourth place with shipments of 3.3 million units of its fitness trackers, while Samsung is fifth with shipments of 3.1 million units of its smartwatch devices (including the Gear S2 smartwatch).
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