#Trending: Wearable Tech Money Talk

How successful are the wearable tech success stories?
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Ready for some sales porn? We've had a bunch of Q1 earnings announcements this week from Apple, Fitbit and Garmin. They've all been pored over in minute detail as tea leaves for the whole industry, whether or not they're actually newsworthy.

So what do the announcements tell us? If you already own their wearable tech products, should you care? (Oh and if you don't know, Q1 just means sales in January, February and March 2017.)

OK, Garmin can't have been a bombshell, right?

Right. It did slightly better than stock market people estimated, making $639 million in the first three months of the year, rather than $629.03 million. Plus its marine/outdoor/aviation/fitness division was up 12% from Q1 last year. That's good news and investor sites are pointing to the launches of the Forerunner 935 and the Vivosmart 3 as drivers of the new Garmin sales.

Read this: Where's the innovation to solve smartwatch's big problems?

Good for Garmin. Move along?

Not quite. If you break out fitness on its own, which Garmin has done, this dropped by 3%. Not too much to fret about in the long term but money people are obsessed with g-r-o-w-t-h else they run scared. Garmin said the reason is that fewer people bought its basic fitness trackers, and even though it sold more GPS watches, there was still an overall dip.

I'm not worried.

Neither are we, Garmin tends to sit pretty in the top five wearable tech sellers in the quarterly estimates analyst IDC puts out.

With Fitbit and Apple?

Precisely. And Xiaomi though we haven't seen the Chinese tech giant's sales info for the start of 2017 yet. Let's move onto Fitbit which seems to be in the news, at least our news, every day at the moment. It's always interesting to hear of Fitbit's share price going up and down, and this week it "spiked" (in money jargon) as - wait for it - Fitbit lost less money than everyone expected.

Real whizz kids, hey?

I know. But it was only $0.15 per share so you know, long game. So revenue was actually down 41% on the same period in 2016. Ouch. Though, like Garmin, Fitbit made more money than predicted: 298.9 million versus 279.4 million.

#Trending: Wearable Tech Money Talk


Maybe. And don't forget everyone's waiting for the Fitbit smartwatch. It's had a pretty quiet 2017 so far with just the Alta HR on the hardware side. Our US editor Hugh picked out a few more interesting tidbits from the earnings call about who is buying Fitbits, repeat buyers and the like. CEO James Park also hinted that the new watch won't cost more than $300.

Get to Apple already.

OK everyone's fave. I've got to admit I saw a link to something about Tim Cook and 'Mad Money' and thought we'd get one of those ace spending breakdowns like that one for how Britney Spears spends her millions.

I think it's a CNBC news show.

Yep. So on the actual call Cook did not divulge the numbers - as usual. The Other Products division - which includes the Apple Watch but also the iPod, Beats headphones, Apple TV and the AirPods - is up 31% year on year. Nice. Also he noted that Apple is struggling to keep up with AirPod demand and Apple Watch sales have doubled in six of ten global markets over the past 12 months.

So... what's changed?

Not much, not much. Garmin is selling some GPS watches, Fitbit needs a product hit to calm its investors down and Apple is (probably) selling more devices than anyone else. If I were really smart, I'd copy and paste that sentence every few months for the next couple of years. Actually, there's one more important thing to note: people are still buying wearables.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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