Tuesday, 07 September 2021 10:22

Wearable band shipments up by nearly 6% in second quarter

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Wearable band shipments up by nearly 6% in second quarter Image by josemiguels from Pixabay

Global shipments of wearable bands grew by 5.6% year-on-year with a total of 40.9 million units being shipped in the second quarter of 2021, the technology analyst firm Canalys says, adding that the decline of basic band shipments, which began in the final quarter of 2020, has extended into the second quarter this year.

Shipments of basic bands fell to 15.5 million units, a drop of 23.8%, but this decline was offset by growth in shipments of wristwatches.

Together, shipments of basic watches and smartwatches touched 25.4 million, a rise of 37.9%, with wristwatches accounting for 62% of the global wearable ban shipments.

wearables 2q

Asked to define these categories of wearables, Canalys research manager Jason Low told iTWire: "A basic band is a wrist-worn device in the form of a wristband or bracelet with a display smaller than 0.6 square inches or without a display, serving a specific set of purposes, acting as an accessory to a smart device, and one that cannot run third-party computing applications. Examples are Xiaomi Mi Band, Fitbit Charge 4, Garmin vivosmart 4, etc.

"A basic watch is a wrist-worn device in the form of a wristwatch with a display equal to or larger than 0.6 square inches, that runs a rudimentary real-time operating system, serves a specific set of purposes, acts as an accessory to a smart device, and cannot run third-party computer applications. Examples are Amazfit Bip, Realme Watch, Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve, Garmin Instinct, etc.

"And a smartwatch is a wrist-worn device in the form of a wristwatch with a display equal to or larger than 0.6 square inches, that runs a fully-fledged operating system and is multi-purpose, acts as an accessory to a smart device, and can run third-party computing applications. Examples are Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch3, OPPO Watch, Garmin Fenix 6, Fitbit Sense, etc."

wearables breakup

Chinese vendor Xiaomi overtook Apple to become the top-shipping wearable band vendor in Q2 2021, with its performance bolstered by the launch of the Mi Smart Band 6, despite India, one of Xiaomi’s strongholds, not being on the initial global launch list.

Huawei hung on to third place, mostly relying on China to stay afloat.

“Xiaomi made a wise move to hasten the release of the Mi Band 6, which is a more compelling device than its predecessor,” said Canalys research analyst Cynthia Chen. “Xiaomi’s quick pivot to basic watches also helped the company boost its wristwatch shipments by 1.3 million units this quarter.”

wristwatch global

Globally, Apple continues to lead the wristwatch market, with 31.3% share in the second quarter, with Huawei a good way back on 9%.

Said Low: “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.”

“It is vital that vendors invest in next-generation health sensors and developing in-house algorithms and solutions to not only track vital biomarkers, but also to ensure good accuracy and reliability.

"Vendors should focus on giving users insights into health trends involving data collected over a longer period of time, so that they can understand how their lifestyles are affecting their well-being.”


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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