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Xiaomi emerges as a top player in the wearables market
Although the company might be best known for selling cut-throat priced smartphones, Xiaomi has also quickly risen to become a dominant player in the wearables market. According to research conducted by IDC, Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi accounted for 24.6 percent of the wearable market in the first quarter of 2015.
What is even more impressive about the figure is that Xiaomi didn’t begin selling its Mi Band, currently the company’s only wearable product, until the second half of last year. In less than a year, Xiaomi has managed to ship approximately 2.8 million units around the world. The Mi Band’s virtually unbeatable low price of just $15 has no doubt assisted the company in grabbing such a large share of the market so quickly, not to mention that the company makes a conscious effort to sell its extended product range to its smartphone consumers.
Looking at the broader market, it’s clear that the fitness tracking segment continues to hold the largest share of the wearables market. FitBit retained its spot as the most popular wearables company, thanks to its range of products appealing to casual and more serious fitness enthusiasts. The company did see its market share drop by 10.5 percent compared with the previous year, but shipments continued to rise by a substantial 129.4 percent.
Garmin and Jawbone also managed to secure themselves a place in the top five, leaving smartwatch manufacturers, such as Pebble, Sony and Motorola, to settle for a lower spot in the rankings. It appears that price is quite a powerful factor in the wearable market at the moment.
“We now see over 40% of the devices priced under $100, and that’s one reason why the top 5 vendors have been able to grow their dominance from two thirds of the market” – Jitesh Ubrani, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers
The only major mobile player to secure a position near the top was Samsung, although the company has seen its share of the market decline from 7.9 to 5.3 percent between Q1 ’14 and Q1 ’15. Perhaps a little worryingly for Samsung, the company has released a rather extensive range of wearable products over several years, ranging from its Tizen Gear Fit to Android Wear Gear Live smartwatch, but has still not managed to appeal to wearable consumers in the same way that it has in the smartphone market. Having said that, shipments did double from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015.
Furthermore, it looks like the explosive wearables market is beginning to show some signs of consolidation, although this is mostly due to Xiaomi’s recent surge. The percent of the market secured by players outside of the top five decreased by 8.8 percent over the year, suggesting that consumers are being drawn to a smaller selection of brands. Of course, there’s growing anticipation that Apple’s newly launched Watch may shake-up the market. However, given the clear current preference for low-cost, fitness focused products, it remains to be seen if this impact with materialize quite as some expect.
Overall, the wearable market is showing signs of continued strength, with 12 month shipments increasing by 200 percent between 2014 and 2015, from 3.8 to 11.4 million units.