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Fitbit and Xiaomi easily dominate pre-Apple Watch wearable landscape

With hands down the most buzzed about wrist-worn intelligent device not tallied yet, the two low-cost fitness tracker specialists racked up over 58 percent of global sales between them in Q1 2015.

Xiaomi Mi Band

Forget Samsung or Pebble, let alone Motorola, Sony and LG. Cupertino must first and foremost fear the likes of Fitbit and Xiaomi in the fledgling wearable décor. It’s true, the Apple Watch isn’t faced with such robust competition as one might expect from fancy Android Wear family members Moto 360 or G Watch R.

Instead, it’s the ultra-affordable Fitbit Charge, Charge HR, Surge, Flex, One and Zip, as well as the Xiaomi Mi Band that posted shipment results in the millions of units worldwide during the first three months of the year.

According to the International Data Corporation’s market measurements, wearables on the whole surged a remarkable 200 percent within the January – March timeframe compared to the same period back in 2014.

Specifically, from 3.8 to 11.4 million units shipped by vendors to end users. Still a blip on the radar of world-leading smartphone manufacturers, with Samsung for instance believed to have sold that much Galaxy S6 and S6 Edges in a little over 30 days.

Wearable sales Q1 2015

Then again, the fact demand grew to oppose the “post-holiday decline normally associated with the first quarter is a strong sign for the wearables market”, claim IDC’s research specialists. Xiaomi stood out as Q1’s main performer by a landslide, leaping from… 0 share a year ago to 24.6 percent, i.e. 2.8 mil Mi Bands sold. And that was squarely in China, with the $15 activity tracker barely expanded to the Western hemisphere earlier this week.

Meanwhile, wearable king Fitbit more than doubled its volumes over the 12 months monitored by the report, from 1.7 to 3.9M, but actually saw its slice of the pie reduced by a whopping 10 percent. That’s what inflated competition does to you.

The same thing happened to Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone, the numbers 3, 4 and 5 in the global ranks, which boosted shipments to 0.7, 0.6 and 0.5M, yet lost one or two percentage points each. Wait, so Samsung was outperformed by Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin, despite selling more fancy Gear smartwatches than we can count?

And exactly how lousy is Android Wear doing, if Pebble and Sony were apparently Jawbone’s closest #5 rivals? No Motorola, no LG, no Asus? No love for pricey, “advanced”, highly “intuitive” watches altogether? Well, not before the “iWatch”, at least.

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