Wearable band sales explode over the past year

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Canalys expects significant market disruption in the coming months with the anticipated launch of a smartwatch from Apple

Sales of wearable bands exploded in the first six months of the year, growing by 684 per cent compared with the same period in 2013.

Canalys’ figures say that sales of basic wearable bands which have no display and cannot run third-part apps, such as Fitbit and Jawbone products, grew from around 600,000 in H1 2013 to around 4.5 million in the first six months of this year.

The smart wearable band segment, which Canalys classes to include bands which run third-part apps such as smartwatches, including the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Fit, grew from approximately 250,000 units to around 1.8 million over the same period.

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While not providing a manufacturer breakdown, the research firm says that Fitbit leads the basic wearable band market and Samsung heads the smart wearable band segment.

‘Fitbit and Jawbone have very successfully grown and strengthened their relationships with channel partners internationally to grow global shipment volumes. They took first and second place respectively in the basic wearable band market in the first half 2014,’ said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones.

“Nike’s market share has fallen as it cuts resources in this area, while new entrant Garmin had a successful launch of its vivofit device and is chasing third place. ‘The challenge all vendors face is keeping consumers engaged with the devices, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’

Canalys says that with the expected arrival of Apple into the smart wearable band category in the coming months there will be a dramatic change and innovation in the market.

“Smart wearable bands need tremendous advances across the entire component ecosystem to achieve multiple days of battery life,” added Canalys analyst Saniel Matte.

“Smart wearable bands should not necessarily resemble watches, but should instead adhere to their own unique design constraints.

“New products will be launched at IFA, but most technology companies are waiting to see what Apple will do first. The market will see dramatic change in the coming months and vendors with early-mover advantages will come under pressure.

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