Fitbit leads wearables market growth in Q4

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New York, March 3 (IANS) The worldwide wearables market reached a new all-time high as shipments reached 33.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, growing 16.9 per cent year over year, with Fitbit leading the way by shipping 6.5 million units, according to a new report. Shipments for the entire year grew 25 per cent as new vendors entered the market and previous champions refreshed their product lineups with Xiaomi and Apple taking second and third spots respectively, the report from the market research firm IDC said. "With the entrance of multiple new vendors with strengths in different industries, the wearables market is expected to maintain a positive outlook, though much of this growth is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand," Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statemnet. The year came to a close with 102.4 million devices shipped. Early on, the market was bifurcated between smart wearables -- those capable of running third party apps -- and basic wearables, which lack this ability. In the past few months, two major platforms, WatchOS and Android Wear, have pivoted towards fitness and health applications. Fitbit maintained its dominance, holding the top position with 19.2 per cent of the market share in the fourth quarter. Xiaomi's growth helped to close the gap between it and Fitbit. The Chinese electronics major shipped 5.2 million units and took 15.2 per cent market share. Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 proved to be a magnificent success for the company as it was the company's best quarter ever in the wearables market with the company shipping 4.6 million units capturing 13.6 per cent market share. US-based Garmin experienced a slight decline of four per cent and shipped 2.1 million units capturing 6.2 per cent of market shar in the fourth quarter of 2016. Samsung rounded out the top five with the launch of two new models -- Gear S3 Classic and Frontier. It shipped 1.9 million units and had 5.6 per cent market share. Ear-worn devices (hearables) surpassed one per cent of all shipments for the first time in a quarter and sensor-laden clothing accounted for more than one per cent of the entire market for the full year 2016.

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