Xiaomi becomes world’s top wearable band brand, Apple rules roost in wristwatch market: Report

By: |
September 06, 2021 1:54 PM

The development comes as a surprise as India, one of the company’s strongholds, was missing from the Mi Smart Band 6's global launch list at the start.

global smartwatch shipmentsCanalys expects wristwatches to drive the wearable band category for years. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Xiaomi has beaten Apple to become the world’s top wearable brand during the second quarter of 2021, Canalys data showed.

Xiaomi’s strong second-quarter performance came on the back of the Mi Smart Band 6 launch. The development comes as a surprise as India, one of the company’s strongholds, was missing from the Mi Smart Band 6’s global launch list at the start. The Chinese vendor shipped 8.0 million units in Q2, registering a 2.6 per cent annual growth. Its market share of 19.6 per cent was marginally higher than the 19.3 per cent for Apple, which shipped 7.9 million units.

Huawei remained in third place, mostly due to sales in China. It sold 3.7 million units for a 9.2 per cent share of the market. The top five was rounded off by Fitbit and Samsung, with 3.0 million and 2.5 million shipments for a market share of 7.3 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively.

Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen said: “Xiaomi made a wise move to hasten the release of the Mi Band 6, which is a more compelling device than its predecessor”

“Xiaomi’s quick pivot to basic watches also helped the company boost its wristwatch shipments by 1.3 million units this quarter.”

Apple, however, continues to be the global market leader for wristwatches with a 31.1 per cent share in Q2. The wristwatch segment could be in for a churn in the next few quarters after Samsung joined hands with Google for the development of Wear OS 3. Samsung is also getting ready to launch the Galaxy Watch4 series that will come with a 5nm chipset and biosensors. The likes of Oppo and Huami (Zepp) are also developing in-house components for their watches.

According to data from the research firm, the global wearable band market recorded a 5.6 per cent on-year growth to 40.9 million units during Q2. Shipment of basic bands continued into the quarter, down 23.8 per cent at 15.5 million units.

However, the growth of wristwatches has cushioned the decline of basic band shipments, which began in the fourth quarter of 2020. Basic and smartwatch shipments rose 37.9 per cent to 25.4 million during Q2. Wristwatches now make up 62 per cent of all global wearable bands.

Canalys expects wristwatches to drive the wearable band category for years.

Canalys Research Manager Jason Low said: “Vendors are attempting to make a big generational leap in smartwatch technologies. To stand out, they are improving the fundamentals, such as user experience and battery life, creating their own distinct UIs and leveraging their respective ecosystems to draw out new and unique use cases.”

“But health tracking is the most prominent use case for smartwatches. The ability to deliver cutting-edge health-tracking features and to offer users meaningful data and actionable health insights will set winners and losers apart.”

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