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Fitbit fitness tracker shipments drop by 38%

Apple and Xiaomi tied in the top position during the first quarter of 2017

Sales of Fitbit devices were down 37.7% in the first quarter of 2017, despite Fitbit previously having the largest market share of the wearables market.

The worldwide wearables market, however, was up 17.9% year on year, according to the latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The strongest performers were Apple and Xiaomi, both shipping 3.6 million units worldwide and together accounting for nearly 30% of the market.


Fitbit dropped to third place in the market based on the number of worldwide shipments. We take a look at why it experienced such a sharp drop between 2016 and 2017 and what the other big brands and lesser-known names have to offer.

Best Buy fitness trackers – discover the devices that won in our tests

The big brands

Among the big brands, there were some shifts in market share compared to the first quarter in 2016.

Fitbit: Having been one of the most popular fitness tracker brands for some time, the start of 2017 may have been disappointing for Fitbit. Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team, said: ‘Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products.’

There’s a wide range of Fitbit fitness trackers but can they compete with the advanced features of other brands or the price tag of a Xiaomi? See all our Fitbit fitness tracker reviews to find out.

Apple: With a strong performance year on year, Apple shipped 64.1% more devices in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year. Given that the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 launched in September 2016 to much fanfare, this isn’t a total surprise.

Samsung: With the launch of the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch in late 2016, it’s no wonder that Samsung shipments were up year on year and that the brand’s market share had grown from 3.4% to 5.5%. See if this performance is justified by checking out our Samsung Gear S3 review.

Garmin: More than 15 Garmin devices, including fitness trackers, fitness watches and smartwatches, have passed through our labs since we began testing wearables. Of those, nine have achieved Best Buy status, so it’s easy to see why Garmin is in the top-five wearable brands in terms of market share. Check out our Garmin fitness watch reviews for the latest models.

Who is Xiaomi?

Chinese company Xiaomi released its first smartphone in August 2011, and has launched a wide range of gadgets including a Bluetooth speaker, a range of TVs and even a drone. You won’t find Xiaomi products in shops on the UK high street, but they can be picked up via third-party sellers on sites such as Amazon.

We put the original Xiaomi MiBand fitness tracker to the test back in 2015, and were impressed that a tracker for under £20 could do an accurate job of tracking steps and distance. The Xiaomi MiBand 2, which launched in 2016, added a built-in heart-rate monitor – almost unheard of in such a cheap tracker. So could that account for its popularity over more well-known brands Fitbit and Garmin? Read our Xiaomi MiBand 2 review to find out how it performed.

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