After closely trailing Fitbit and Xiaomi for several quarters, Apple came out on top in the fourth quarter of 2017, shipping 8 million Apple Watches. The company sold 8.0 million units, against 5.1 million the year, taking its market share to 21 from 14.4 percent. However, data from the research firm IDC show that Apple Watch has become the hottest wearable device in the market.
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While official sales figures for the Apple Watch are not disclosed, IDC estimated Apple sold some eight million in the final three months of previous year, representing 21 per cent of all wearables. IDC attributed the slowdown to the exit of many vendors who relied on older type models. The remaining vendors, including multiple start-ups, have not only replaced them, but with devices, features and services that have helped make wearables more integral in people's lives.
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"Going forward, the next generation of wearables will make the ones we saw as recently as 2016 look quaint", he said.
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While Apple gained momentum by adding cellular connectivity to its smartwatch, Fitbit struggled through its ongoing business transformation. "It's due to this that the wearables market has seen healthy double-digit growth in average selling prices since 2016", said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. While the wearable business is still growing due to the advent of low-cost fitness bands, the only smartwatch anybody seems to want is the Apple Watch, a device that is fairly expensive and only works with one brand of smartphones. The company was busy concentrating on the distribution of its Ionic smartwatch, and development of apps for Fitbit OS. Fitbit took steps to enhance its reach in healthcare, including partnerships with Dexcom and United Healthcare. The company introduced a number of new products throughout the year after relying heavily on its aging MiBand 2. It also characterized Garmin's slight increase as attributable more to fast growth in its smartwatches than to its basic fitness trackers. Xiaomi was second with 15.7 million units while Fitbit was a close third with 15.4 million shipments. However, the focus on China has been somewhat detrimental as shipments of the company's wearables declined by 2 percent in other markets, making it even more hard for Huawei to become a worldwide brand.