Fitbit dominates health and fitness wearables (but look out for the Apple Watch 2)

Fitbit dominated the “basic band” sector of the wearables market in the second quarter 2016, with 3.7 million shipments, according to Canalys. Total shipments of basic bands, which are mainly health and fitness trackers, exceeded nine million units, adds the research group.

Xiaomi followed in second place, shipping nearly three million Mi bands, while Garmin finished off the top three with over 700,000 units. Fitbit’s basic band shipments managed to grow an impressive 36% year-on-year. 

While basic bands continued their strong growth streak, quarter two saw a lull in the market for smart watches. Apple shipped only three million Apple Watches during the first two quarters of 2016, but its shipments are poised to triple in the remainder of the year when the Apple Watch 2 arrives, says Canalys Analyst Jason Low. Canalys also forecasts that 7.5 million smart watches with cellular connectivity will ship in 2016.

“watchOS 3 [due this fall] fixes the platform’s performance deficiencies by trading off battery life out of necessity,” adds Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte. The platform should now be on course to improve its app ecosystem and increase sales.”

Android Wear shipments are declining in 2016, as momentum behind new product launches has waned. Wearable band shipment data is taken from Canalys’ Wearable and Virtual Reality Analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates. 

Canalys defines basic wearable bands as devices serving a specific set of purposes that act as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried and cannot run third party computing applications. Smart watches are multi-purpose devices that serve as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, run an operating system and are capable of running third party computing applications. Bands are wearables designed to be wrapped around the body, including watches, and do not include activity trackers in the form of clips.