Fitbit dominates global wearable band shipments in Q1 2014

Fitbit FlexSamsung may have dominated the smartwatch market in Q1 2014 but if you take a wider look at the global wearable band market, a different leader emerges. According to Canalys, a total of 2.7 million wearable bands, comprised of both basic and smart bands (the latter includes smartwatches), shipped worldwide in Q1 2014. Fitbit accounted for nearly 50% of those global wearable band shipments. Its domination came in the basic band segment where it offers a number of products.

Canalys defines basic wearables 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 wearables are “multi-purpose devices that serve as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, and are capable of running third-party computing applications.”

‘Some industry observers are wondering if the wearables market is a failure, but Canalys believes the current dynamics instead reflect the rapidly changing nature of wearable devices,’ said Research Analyst Joe Kempton. ‘More sophisticated sensor technology designed specifically for wearables will be arriving soon.’ New devices running Android Wear will launch this summer from LG and other vendors, such as Motorola, which is now poised to re-enter the smart band market after exiting it two years ago.

Despite Fitbit dominating the basic band segment (despite the Fitbit Force recall), Jawbone which launched the the UP24 late last year, saw strong growth in Q1. The same cannot be said of Nike which saw its share drop below 10%. With Nike exiting the fitness hardware business to focus on software, competitors have an opportunity to pick up more market share in the coming quarters.

On the smart wearables band side, Canalys puts Pebble at the top with a 35% market share, ahead of Sony and Samsung with 29% and 23% shares respectively. This is in stark contrast to what market research firm Strategy Analytics reported. Canalys found that Samsung shipments fell significantly in Q1 2014 from the previous quarter as it prepared for the launch of the new Gear 2 smartwatch line whereas Pebble had strong shipments thanks in part to the new Pebble Steel (which we reviewed last month).

It’s early days for wearables in general and it will be interesting to see if the early leaders can hold on to the top rung as new players enter the market.

Source : Canalys