IDC: Wearables Market Swells 17.9% During the First Quarter

The worldwide wearables market maintained its upward trajectory during the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) with Xiaomi and Apple leading all companies and multiple products experiencing double – and triple-digit growth.

That’s the official announcement from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker indicates that companies shipped a total of 24.7 million wearable devices during 1Q17, up 17.9% from the 20.9 million units shipped in 1Q16.

“Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team. “This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide. Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.

“However, by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation,” continued Llamas. “With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets.”

“The market is arguably still in the first phase of development, where companies are focused on seeding wearables into the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “It’s all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device. And the opportunity remains very enticing for traditional and fashion watch brands as the scale of the consumer electronics market far surpasses their world.

“The second phase of development will be all about putting user data to good use,” continued Ubrani. “This is when step counts translate into healthier hearts and minds. And it’s also when we will start to see devices that actually augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on.”

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