Wearable device makers shipped 24.7 million gadgets during the first quarter of 2017, up 17.9 percent from the 20.9 million shipped same period a year earlier, according to new data from IDC.
Leading the way are China's Xiaomi and Apple, which tied for the No. 1 position, while Fitbit — the former "undisputed worldwide leader of wearable devices" — came in third place, the market research firm said.
"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement. "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."
But don't feel too bad for Fitbit. Llamas said the company is "well positioned to move into new segments and markets," given its user base of 50 million and strong presence in corporate wellness efforts.
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Meanwhile, IDC Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani pointed out that the weraable device market is still in its first phase. "Companies are focused on seeding wearables into the market," he said. "It's all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device."
The next phase, he said, "will be all about putting user data to good use." Ubrani predicted that future wearables will "augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on."
Samsung came in fourth place during the first quarter of 2017, followed by Garmin.
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