The global wearable market grew by 10.3-percent over the entire 2017, with worldwide shipments reaching 115.4 million units, data collected by IDC reveals. Apple overtook both Xiaomi and Fitbit in terms of shipments and is now the leading manufacturers of such devices, having managed to grow its business by nearly 56-percent last year. Fossil is the most improved brand with 4.9 million shipments recorded in 2017, 133-percent up annually. Apple and Xiaomi shipped 17.7 million and 15.7 million wearables, respectively, whereas Fitbit delivered approximately 15.4 million devices to retailers. While Xiaomi's numbers stayed flat over the 12-month period, Fitbit's business shrunk by a considerable margin, with the company shipping 22.5 million devices in 2016, or 31.6-percent more than it did last year.
Fitbit's latest consolidated financial report attributed the decline to a change in consumer behavior that's seeing an increasing number of people move away from traditional fitness and activity trackers to more full-fledged smartwatches. The San Francisco, California-based electronics manufacturer is hence seeking to embrace such versatile offerings going forward and already started doing so with the launch of its first smartwatch last year. The Ionic received several revisions to date and is set to be succeeded by a broader range of smartwatches this year, Fitbit told investors. Besides new product categories, the company is also seeking to place a larger focus on its digital health services and increase the number of its premium subscribers in the future but isn't expecting to fully accomplish either goal this year and has already predicted another annual decline in sales in 2018.
Over the final quarter of 2017, Huawei experienced the largest wearable business growth out of all original equipment manufacturers on the planet, having shipped 1.6 million fitness trackers and smartwatches, 93.2-percent up year-on-year. While the top five largest wearable companies are growing at a steady pace, all of their smaller rivals combined improved their performance by nearly twice as much in 2017, with their device shipments amounting to approximately 55.5 million units, 19.1-percent more than in 2016. All OEMs are expected to start placing a larger focus on fitness trackers and smartwatches targeted at children starting this year, according to numerous industry trackers. A visual breakdown of IDC's latest findings can be seen in the gallery below.