Wearable band shipment up 37% in Q3

Moto 360Wearable bands are all the rage with many new models announced and expected to be available in the coming months.

In Q3, nearly five million wearable bands were shipped — an increase of 37 percent quarter on quarter, according to Canalys.

Motorola Mobility’s Moto 360 is the most successful among Android Wear devices, accounting for over 15 percent of the smart band market. Despite being supply-constrained, its appealing design helped it to easily outship other Android Wear products.

LG has also adopted the circular display with the G Watch R. Samsung, the overall smart band market leader, has already begun to experiment with larger display sizes and cellular connectivity with the Gear S.

Android Wear is poised to be one of the two dominant wearable operating systems outside of China, alongside Apple’s Watch OS. Canalys believes that Google will need to redesign the Android Wear user interface before the platform can achieve its true potential.

“The announcement of the Apple Watch late in the quarter has likely had an effect on sales of existing devices, as some consumers will choose to wait for Apple’s wearable. The smart band market was flat between Q2 and Q3, but with an installed base of over 1.8 billion Android smart phones, there is a huge potential market of Android users not considering an Apple Watch,” said Daniel Matte, Analyst of Canalys.

Fitbit and Jawbone held onto their first and second place positions, respectively, in the basic band market for the quarter, and both have just announced new products.

Garmin passed Nike to take third place in shipment, while Xiaomi and Huawei also overtook the one-time market leader and rounded out the top five.

“Low-end basic bands providing simple activity tracking functionality are becoming increasingly commoditised, and will flood the market heading into the holidays, especially in China. To combat this, Fitbit, Jawbone and others have attempted to make basic bands smarter, adding various smart watch features and increasing the sophistication and integration of sensors,” said Jingwen, Analyst of Canalys.

Google Fit, Microsoft Health and the Samsung Digital Health Platform have all recently been announced in response to Apple’s HealthKit. While the new Microsoft Band does not have strong hardware appeal, Microsoft’s cross-platform cloud services approach is a wise strategy, and the company is importantly staking its relevance early in a new market.

There is tremendous opportunity for brand new services on wearable platforms, and not just in the area of health and fitness. Developers are expected to eagerly embrace Apple’s WatchKit SDK when it is released later this month.