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Xiaomi overtakes Fitbit, Apple in wearables market

The Chinese device maker Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearable devices during the second quarter. (Reuters)

DUBAI: Move over, Fitbit and Apple, we have a new market leader for wearable devices.
Chinese device maker Xiaomi has overtaken the two global brands with 17.1 percent of the wearables market after it shipped 3.7 million units during the second quarter, up from 15 percent a year ago at 3 million units, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Fitbit shipped 3.4 million wearable devices, 40 percent lower than the previous year, as its market share dropped to 15.7 percent from 28.5 percent in 2016. Apple shipments meanwhile rose 50 percent to 2.8 million units in the second quarter, equivalent to a 13 percent market share.
From April to June, wearable shipments increased 8 percent to 21.6 million, compared to 20 million during the same quarter of 2016 on strong demand for low-priced fitness bands in China and premium smartwatches in the US.
“Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts,” Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.
Fitbit, which first entered the market in 2009, has been the top player in the wearables market for some time until manufacturing errors, less-than-impressive upgrades and a decline in the Chinese market resulted into a loss of its leadership for the first time in the first quarter of this 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,” Mawston said.
Apple however may overtake Xiaomi later this year with the rumored release of its newest smartwatch, the Apple Watch 3, possibly after or alongside another unveiling of the latest iPhone smartphone.
Industry talk suggested Apple’s latest smartwatch would have features including biometric sensors to track vital statistics such as blood sugar levels, aside from heart rate and movement monitoring.

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