Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

We do the math on wearable device shipments
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Whether it's smartwatches or fitness trackers, there's one factor we always come back to: sales.

But with mountains of figures, quarterly reports and projections swirling throughout the web, trying to figure out how the big guns, such as Apple, Fitbit and Xiaomi, really compare alongside each other can be tough. It's not just the household names that are worth focusing on, either, as plenty of burgeoning brands are prime to steal customers away and offer something different in an ever-growing space.

Total sales for wearables reached an estimated 103 million in 2016, with forecasts proposing the number of units shipped in 2017 could be closer to the 125 million mark, thanks in part to areas such as hearables expanding rapidly alongside the mainstays.

Since some companies (here's looking at you, Apple) don't feel comfortable sharing the full details, it can be hard to pin down exact figures, but we've trawled through reports to help you find out just how the wearable tech sales pie is split among the competition.

How many Apple Watches have been sold?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

Taking a look at the stats for the Apple Watch is always intriguing, and largely because the Cupertino giant itself refuses to release specific figures. Instead, it lumps together Watch sales in the 'Other' bracket, alongside its AirPods and Beats headphones.

That doesn't mean we have no idea about figures, though. Tim Cook revealed in an earnings call with investors back in May that Watch sales have nearly doubled year over year, and that its wearable arm combined was the "the size of a Fortune 500 company" in 2016. Last year, the smallest 500 company brought in $5.1 billion, so it's safe to assume Apple is sitting pretty.

Since the device's arrival back in April 2015, cumulative sales are around the 30 million mark, according to Strategy Analytics. And as for 2017 alone, the company is expected to finish with a unit shift of 15 million, thanks largely to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 3.

It's hard to pin down the truth, but one thing is for sure - Apple Watch sales are continuing to grow and take over the smartwatch market.

How many Fitbit devices have been sold?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

With a growing line-up of trackers and the upcoming Fitbit smartwatch, the company remains incredibly popular.

If you delve into Fitbit's annual and quarterly SEC reports, it's managed to shift a total of around 60.5 million devices, with 22.2 million of those coming in 2016. And despite struggles in Q1 2017, Fitbit made a step in the right direction in Q2, announcing it shifted 3.4 million devices and beat many analysts' revenue estimates.

Despite this, though, its influence over the market has still shrunk dramatically over the past year, surrendering a slight lead to Xiaomi, who managed to capture 17% of the pie in Q2 2017.

Looking ahead to Q3, a period which will involve the launch of its smartwatch, the company is expected to create revenue of around $380 to $400 million. And you can bet that number will be even higher for the end of year quarter, which includes Black Friday and Christmas.

What are the Xiaomi Mi Band sales figures?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

As we mentioned, Xiaomi is riding high, thanks largely to those in the market for a budget fitness tracker. As of Q2 2017, its the world's largest wearable vendor, shifting 3.7 million devices.

While figures aren't available for its total 2016 performance, which we know saw it post strong quarters due to the release of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, IDC estimates the Chinese company sold a total of 16.8 million Mi Band budget trackers between Q1 2014 and Q1 2016.

While it's all healthy for Xiaomi, the big question is how it's faring away from its home market. We don't have those figure breakdowns, but it's far from a household name in Europe or the US just yet.

Are Samsung devices being snapped up?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

After a rocky few years with some sub-par devices, Samsung is managing to gain traction in the wearable market.

The stats still leave it in the dust of Fitbit and Apple, but IDC estimates say the Korean firm racked up 7.1 million sales of its Gear smartwatches and Fit wearables from 2014 to the end of 2016's second quarter.

And in terms of total sales from 2016, the firm notes the company was able to shift around 4.4 million units — again, it's by no means mind-blowing, but it's steady enough to keep it in and amongst the top five. It also got off to a good start in 2017 by shifting 1.4 million wearable devices.

Whether the upcoming Samsung Gear Sport and Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro can help propel it into a battle with the elites in the latter half of 2017 and into the new year remains to be seen.

What about Garmin's figures?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

Garmin, which manages to cover a wide range of areas despite not owning the same global reach as the likes of Apple and Samsung, managed to ship around 6.1 million devices in 2016, according to IDC. That's enough to put it above Samsung, but it still pales in comparison to the likes of Fitbit.

And despite a solid 2016, this year hasn't been quite as kind to Garmin. It still managed to hang in the top five of the wearable vendors, shipping 1.1 total devices in Q1 2017. Recently though, in Q2, the Swiss company saw its fitness device business fall about 15% despite posting better than expected results in other areas.

How is Android Wear doing?

Wearable tech sales explored: Just how many devices have been sold?

Pinning down how well Android Wear watches are performing is just as difficult as it is for Apple's. Many companies use Google's platform to power their devices, but not all disclose details on shipments.

Estimates from Canalys state 720,000 Android Wear devices were shipped in 2014, with IDC's research finding a much healthier 4.1 million units sold in 2015. In 2016, the firm also noted that the number of shipments running Android Wear was 6.1 million, another growth.

Whether the end of year figures are again an improvement remains to be seen, but with the introduction of Android Wear 2.0 and a bevy of new smartwatches rocking the software, it would be a big disappointment if the platform wasn't to close the gap significantly on watchOS and Apple.

And the rest?

With the likes of Pebble, Jawbone and TomTom all renegotiating their position in the wearable business in one way or another, the crop outside of the main players is thinning.

But over the course of 2016, devices from companies not named Apple, Garmin, Samsung, Fitbit or Xiaomi came to 43 million, which represented 42% of the overall wearable picture. In Q1 2017, the 11.9 million devices shipped made up almost half of the industry sales.

The focus will always inevitably shine on the larger companies, but these figures show that there's still significant room for devices that aren't necessarily sitting on wrists.

Which wearables do you see out and about? Have you bought multiple wearables so far? Let us know in the comments.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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