(SportTechie) – Chinese smartwatch and fitness band maker Xiaomi, which makes the Mi Band, surpassed both Apple and Fitbit in the second quarter to become the world’s leading wearables vendor, a new report shows.
Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units last quarter, an 8 percent increase from 21.6 million in the year-earlier period, according to industry tracker Strategy Analytics. Most of those gains were led by Xiaomi, which overtook Fitbit as the world’s biggest wearables brand due to demand for lower-priced wearables in China, and Apple, which posted gains on the premium side in the U.S.
Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearables worldwide, a year-over-year increase of 23% from 3 million. That boosted its share of the market to 17 percent. The gains were led by its Mi Band fitness tracker, which is priced below Apple Watch and Fitbit bands, but offers popular features such as a heart-rate monitor, step-counter and smartphone alerts.
Apple shipped 2.8 million devices, compared with 1.8 million last year, bringing its share to 13 percent from 9 percent in the year-earlier period.
Fitbit, on the other hand, continued to struggle with the sale of its fitness bands. The company saw its share shrink in half to 16 percent from 29 percent last year, while shipments fell to 3.4 million devices from 5.7 million last year.
“Fitbit is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between the low-end fitness bands sold by Xiaomi and the fitness-led, high-end smartwatches sold by Apple,” said Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics’ executive director, in a statement.
There will continue to be a dichotomy between the three with the launch of Apple’s third-generation watch.
Apple added a number of new health features to the Series 2 during an upgrade announced this spring, including personalized coaching, motion- and heart-rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval Training and a capability to connect watches to an assortment of gym cardio equipment. Due later this year, the Apple Watch Series 3 is expected to be loaded with more health tracking features.
“The rumored upcoming Watch Series 3 launch with enhanced health tracking could prove to be a popular smartwatch model and enable Apple to reclaim the top wearables spot later this year,” said Strategic Analytics Director Cliff Raskind.
Fitbit is expected to begin shipping its own smartwatch ahead of this holiday season.