(Yicai Global) June 6 -- China's Xiaomi Inc. overtook American company Fitbit Inc. [NYSE:FIT] to become the world's largest wearable maker in the first quarter of this year, according to a report by US market research firm, IDC. Apple Inc. ranked number two, while Fitbit, which has long occupied the top spot, fell to third place.
Global shipments of wearable devices reached 247 million in the first quarter, up 17.9 percent from 209 million units in the same period last year, the IDC data show. Xiaomi, Apple, Fitbit, Samsung Electronics Co. and Garmin Ltd. [NASDAQ:GRMN] were the top five wearable makers, each shipping at least one million units in the first quarter.
Fitbit's market share fell by 10.9 percentage points from 23.2 percent a year ago to 12.3 percent in the first quarter, with shipments of just three million units, a decrease of 1.9 million from the same period last year. That was probably due to Fitbit's over-emphasis on the increasingly saturated US market, the report commented.
Xiaomi saw its market share shrink by 3.2 percentage points from 17.9 percent a year ago to 14.7 percent in the first quarter, with shipments down by 200,000 units to 3.6 million units. However, with 96 percent of its shipments being within China, the company rose to the top position in the global wearables market by focusing on low-priced fitness tracking wristbands.
Apple's market share rose by 4.1 percentage points from 10.5 percent a year ago to 14.6 percent in the first quarter, with shipments up by 1.4 million units to 3.6 million. The company posted its best performance in the wearables market in the fourth quarter of last year and has maintained that momentum this year. Apple saw sustained demand for its 'Apple Watch' two quarters after the launch of 'series 1' and 'series 2' versions and recorded the second-highest annual growth among leading companies, said IDC.
Samsung's market share increased by 2.1 percentage points to 5.5 percent, while Garmin's decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 4.6 percent. Both were well behind the top three players in terms of market share.
Last year, Fitbit, Xiaomi and Apple were also market leaders, while Garmin and Samsung were among the top five players. However, there have been some subtle changes this year. Winners and losers may soon emerge in the coming quarters.