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.
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.
"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."
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.”
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.”