Love them or loathe them, smartwatches and fitness trackers have revolutionised everyday life. In fact, by the year 2020 Forbes have suggested that the wearable technology market will be worth a colossal $34 billion, but with the industry’s big hitters allowing so few new products to hit the shelves, are the signs of life beginning to fade on the wrist wear front?
In terms of smartwatches and fitness trackers, Apple and Fitbit lead the way, but the Californian duos have taken something of a hit of late. A report by IDC showed a 16.9 percent growth in the wearable technology market during the latter stages of 2016, yet Fitbit seemed to lose its way, seeing its stranglehold on the industry drop by 4.8 percent between 2015 and 2016. The company successfully maintained its place as top dog in the wearable technology market, but it was certainly an unwelcome decline.
Apple witnessed a similar slump, as its share in the market slipped from 14.2 percent in 2015 to 10.5 percent just a year later. The technology giant enjoyed something of a revival in the fourth quarter of 2016 thanks to the launch of the Apple Watch 2, but the rot seems reluctant to shift. So, why are these Western American powerhouses struggling so much?
As indicated by IDC and predicted by Forbes, the wearable technology market is on the up, but it’s partly thanks to the continued rise of a company many consumers in Europe and America may be unfamiliar with: Xiaomi. This hugely popular brand is well respected in its native China for its production of affordable smartphones and Mi Bands. Xiaomi is also helped by the fact that organisations in the west, particularly Fitbit, are too focused on sales in the already saturated US market.
As a result, the Asian giant has seen sales soar in other regions, particularly those that are far less affluent than America. The company also offers products that are a little different to the run of the mill devices found outside of China, including smart clothing and ear-worn accessories. Xiaomi did see its share of the industry fall ever so slightly between 2015 and 2016, but it managed to fight its way into second place in the market, nestled between third place Apple and table toppers Fitbit. However, unlike Apple and Fitbit, Xiaomi saw its year-over-year growth increase by a massive 96.2 percent, demonstrating that this is a company that certainly means business.
So, will this growth see the Chinese manufacturer take top spot in 2017, or can the designers at Apple and Fitbit produce a spectacular turnaround? Watch this space!