Wearables are selling better than ever, but Fitbit is losing ground

Market reaches an all-time high
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Wearables are selling better than ever, according to new figures from IDC, but despite being top of the pile, Fitbit and its fitness trackers are starting to lose ground to rivals.

IDC's latest report found that wearable shipments for 2016 grew 25%, ending with 102.4 million devices shipped in total. At the top, once again, was Fitbit selling the most devices in both Q4 and the entire year, but it also had a significant market share drop of almost 10% over the same quarter in 2015.

Read next: More smartwatches are coming at Baselworld

For the entire year, its market share went from 26.8% to 22.0%, which is a fairly big drop considering the company actually sold more devices in 2016. The report notes that low-cost competitors are starting to chip away at Fitbit's dominance.

As we recently revealed, we expect the company to announce the Fitbit Alta HR very soon, which will hopefully give it an early-year boost. We are also expecting to see the first Fitbit smartwatch before the end of the year.

Meanwhile Apple dropped from 14.2% market share in 2015 to 10.5% last year but IDC notes that the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2 gave the company a nice push for a stronger Q4. Xiaomi, the second biggest wearable seller in 2016, is also gaining significant ground on Fitbit, however its lack of presence outside of China is the main thing holding it back right now.

The report concludes that greater health and fitness abilities, notably from WatchOs and Android Wear, is helping the wearables market find its path. For smartwatches in particular, IDC says, become less reliant on our smartphones will help them offer a more compelling experience.

Interestingly, hearables surpassed 1% of all shipments in Q4, the first time this has happened in a single quarter, while smart clothes also accounted for over 1% of total wearable shipments for 2016. It might seem small, but there's a lot of potential there as smart clothing continue to improve.

Wearables are selling better than ever, but Fitbit is losing ground

How we test

Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

Related stories