With shipments of 3.9 million in Q3 2017, Apple has pushed Xiaomi and Fitbit to the second and third positions respectively.
Xiaomi and Fitbit shipped 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands respectively, a significant rise considering the traditionally weaker Q3. Both companies reported a strong quarter-on-quarter growth in this segment, says the agency.
However, despite the increase in smartwatch shipments, waning demand for basic bands meant the overall wearable band market fell 2 percent to reach 17.3 million units.
“Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers’ doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers,” said Canalys analyst Jason Low.
“Despite strong shipments, the Apple Watch Series 3 did not reach its full potential in Q3. It suffered limited availability as demand outstripped supply in major markets. Service providers had underestimated demand for the new Apple Watch,” Low added.
While health features continue to be the core focus, vendors are striving to increase the value of smartwatches by prioritizing design and highlighting key features, according to Canalys Research analyst Mo Jia.
“Apple and Samsung are increasing user stickiness and brand loyalty by adopting an ecosystem strategy, which includes wearables and audio accessories,” Jia added. Smartphone vendors must reevaluate their respective smartwatch strategies to derive more value beyond smartphone growth.”
Vendors are expecting a stronger Q4 this year, with new smartwatches highlighting improved health-tracking features and longer battery life, on top of better and slimmer designs.
“Google must show stronger commitment to help Android Wear vendors, which are now mostly watchmakers and fashion brands, to further improve the user experience and app ecosystem. Otherwise, the market will see further consolidation, as vendors such as Apple, Samsung and Fitbit dominate with their watch software platforms,” added Low.