Apple nudges out Xiaomi to retake global wearables lead

Report: Apple is back to being the world's top wearable maker

Knowing the success of the Apple Watch ahead of time, it's no wonder that a new Canalys report published today states that "Apple has retaken the lead in the wearable band market in Q3 2017, with shipments of 3.9 million". Their increase in third quarter shipments was, however, more than offset by slowing demand for fitness trackers. The firm estimates that the gen-three version accounted for just 800,000 shipments, due to supply issues, which bodes well for Apple coming into the lucrative holiday season.

Grateful for his new Apple Watch 3 functionality that took him out of a potentially unsafe situation, John Zilles emailed Apple to let them know how he appreciates the gear, and apparently even got a short reaction by fellow fitness nerd Tim Cook himself, in the form of one short but sweet "wow, happy to hear you are safe" reply.

The only thing holding Apple back was limited availability in some markets, Canalysis said. Xiaomi and Fitbit, which shipped 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands respectively, have also bucked the trend of the traditionally weaker Q3 by posting quarter-on-quarter growth.

According to research firm Canalys, the US firm shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units in the third-quarter, the strongest ever for Apple. Basically, Canalys believes carriers massively underestimated the demand for the cellular Apple Watch.

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Jason Low added that "In China, customers with high expectations are being driven away by the service disruption fiasco in the country".

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.

Following a lull past year, smartwatches seem to be in high demand.

Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia noted in the report that "While health features continue to be the core focus, vendors are striving to increase the value of smartwatches by prioritizing design and highlighting key features". Looking out to the current fourth quarter, the research firm said vendors are expecting a strong three month period with new smartwatches including improved health tracking features and a longer battery life driving demand. "Google must show stronger commitment to help Android Wear vendors, which are now mostly watchmakers and fashion brands, to further improve the user experience and app ecosystem".

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