Apple Becomes World's Top Wearable Manufacturer, Claims New Report

Xiaomi, which led the global wearables space briefly, has slipped down to the second place, shipping 3.6 million wearables, while Fitbit is in the third spot after shipping 3.5 million units. "Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers' doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers", said Canalys analyst Jason Low in a report highlighting the results. The smartphone giant estimates that the third generation version of smartwatch accounted for just 800,000 units, due to supply issues, which predicts well for Apple coming into the fruitful holiday season. Estimates from Canalys suggest that unit sales nearly hit 4 million for Apple Watch in the third quarter.

However, the overall wearable band market fell 2 percent to 17.3 million units in the quarter due to waning demand for basic bands.

In September, Apple unveiled a watch with built-in cellular, which means users can use the device to make calls, stream music and perform other tasks without having to be tethered to the iPhone. The new Apple Watch Series 3 was only on sale the last 10 days of that quarter, but still apparently had a big impact on sales.

Smartphone makers Huawei and Samsung also make their own series of smartwatches, some of which are created to rival the Apple Watch, but have had to contend with 6% and 5% share, respectively.

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"While health features continue to be the core focus, vendors are striving to increase the value of smartwatches by prioritising design and highlighting key features", says Canalys Research analyst Mo Jia.

"Apple and Samsung are increasing user stickiness and brand loyalty by adopting an ecosystem strategy, which includes wearables and audio accessories". While health and fitness tracking features are something many buy a fitness band or a smartwatch for, there is also the aspect of the software, the ease of pairing with the phone, apps that can be run on the wearable and battery life which also constitutes a part of the buying decision. Q4 performance will be crucial to assess consumers' reaction toward the emerging trend of fashionable smartwatches that prioritise form rather than function.

Apple is once again the biggest selling producer of wearables after its third-generation Apple Watch, released in September, helped it pip China's Xiaomi to the post.

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