Apple Inc., the new leader in wearables

“There has been a sea change within the wearables industry. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple looks to have grabbed the wearables unit sales crown from Fitbit this past holiday season,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “It’s time to begin thinking about wearables not just as standalone devices for the wrist, but rather platforms containing a number of products designed for different parts of the body. In this environment, Apple has become the new wearables leader.”

“After initially positioning Apple Watch as a mini iPhone on the wrist, Apple changed strategies last year in an effort to close the unit sales gap between Fitbit and Apple Watch. Management shifted Apple Watch marketing more towards health & fitness while lowering the entry-level price and expanding the product line to include more fitness-oriented Watches,” Cybart writes. “Fitbit had an early November surprise announcement. The company disclosed a sudden deterioration in customer demand in 3Q16, and the negative trends had continued into October. The slowdown caught Fitbit off guard. Management was forced to issue very weak financial guidance for the upcoming holiday shopping season. More worrying, management didn’t seem to know what was driving the sudden decline in demand. While Apple Watch was a prime suspect, Fitbit has never publicly viewed Apple as a competitive threat.”

Apple Watch Nike+ with with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters
Apple Watch Nike+ with with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters

“Despite lowering sales expectations, Fitbit still ended up missing its holiday sales forecast. The company hit a brick wall in terms of sales growth. Demand for Fitbit products completely evaporated at the end of the year with the company seeing a 21% decline in unit sales in 4Q16. Just one year earlier, Fitbit had reported 55% unit sales growth,” Cybart writes. “Apple reported record Apple Watch sales in 4Q16.”

“On a sell-through basis, Fitbit may have been able to just squeak by Apple Watch to retain the title of best-selling wearables company over the holidays. However, there is still a missing piece to the discussion,” Cybart writes. “The definition of wearables has changed. This past holiday season saw the introduction of AirPods, Apple’s second wearables product.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has built and continues to build out the only real wearables platform while the also-rans, wannabes, and roadkill struggle to build salable bands and/or stupidwatches sans ecosystems of which to speak.

Apple Watch sales hit all-time high while Fitbit stumbles – March 2, 2017
The Apple Watch is winning – March 2, 2017
Apple Watch had massive holiday quarter; took nearly 80% share of total smartwatch revenue – February 10, 2017
The Apple Watch ‘WOW’ moment – February 3, 2017
Apple Watch dominates with 63% of worldwide smartwatch market – February 2, 2017
Apple smashes Street; iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch set all-time records – January 31, 2017
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: Pebble is dead – December 7, 2016
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: ‘Microsoft Band’ wearable is dead – October 4, 2016
Computerworld reviews Apple Watch Series 2: It’s time to jump in – September 27, 2016
Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Great experience with very few hiccups’ – September 22, 2016
Mossberg reviews Apple’s watchOS 3: Quicker, easier, and more useful – September 21, 2016
CNET reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘The smooth wrist companion it was always meant to be’ – September 14, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Apple Watch finds its purpose in life’ – September 14, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple Watch Series 2: There’s something effortlessly cool about it – September 14, 2016
Apple Watch Series 2: Apple refocuses its smartwatch – September 12, 2016


  1. Fitbit is a poorly built watch having begun to fall apart after 8 months of use. For $150, it was not as well built as a $40 Casio. I got a Apple Series 2 and never looked back!

      1. So you are comparing a Fitbit from 2014 against 2017 models? I’m not a Fitbit fan, but two things I dislike intensely are BS and stupidity. You comment demonstrates at least one of those two attributes and perhaps both of them.

        1. Fitbit had a chance their chance at making Larry and buzzy lifelong, loyal, customers but they failed. Their product made a terrible first impression and Larry and buzzy moved on. Why wouldn’t they? If you keep smashing your face into the wall, you’ll eventually stop. You know why? Because it feels so much better when you stop.

        2. I bought my wife a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas 2015 and the thing lasted about five months. There are several guys I work with that have them and they have had to send them back for replacement due to broken bands and malfunctions. Apparently Fitbit has a decent return policy, but I didn’t want to deal with that crap.

        3. “BS and stupidity”, thanks!
          I bought my 2014 fitbit in 2014 and it lasted 9 months. The last 2 months leading up to April 2015 I sported a small piece of duct tape holding the plastic together around the display. If you read carefully, you’ll see I am comparing products available at roughly the same time and not products on the market 3 years apart.

  2. Watch competitors are or will soon be sailing off the nearest precipice to their sales doom, crashing & burning. (And no one will ask them their favorite color which is a mandatory flaming red.)

    Well except for the cheap knockoffs sold by shady characters that don’t last.

  3. From Fitbit:
    More worrying, management didn’t seem to know what was driving the sudden decline in demand. While Apple Watch was a prime suspect, Fitbit has never publicly viewed Apple as a competitive threat.”

    Sound like Nokia? Maybe Micro$haft will show an interest in acquiring Fitbit.

  4. It’s a nascent category in its infancy. I’ve said all along it is going to be huge in time. And as soon as better biosensors are ready for prime time, this sector is going to blow up. The medical monitoring and health side of wearables is where the real money is. We all get sick and we all want to do what we can to stay healthy. So it’s a market that will not reach saturation or peak any time soon. It’s at the base of the mountain and there is only one way for it to go.

  5. Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio. Fighting crime with high technology. How I admired the idealistic detectives of my infancy! How well I recall the indulgent chuckles of the adults as I proffered the comic strips and professed a belief in scientific progress! Adults assume that nothing ever really changes, and waves away childish fantasies. Now as an adult myself, I struggle to resist the encrustation of my own imagination, which is the curse of the professional.

  6. I’m quite staggered. I use an Apple Watch 2 (plus a Nike one as well). I use a variety of Fitbits but mainly the Alta and Charge 2 HR. The Fitbit App is way better than the Apple Activity App hence my continuing to use the Fitbit. Sleep tracking is important to me and obviously Apple Watch doesn’t offer it. There are some pretty second rate third party sleep apps. The only thing that keeps me interested in the Apple Watch is that I’m a swimmer and the Activity App does that well. If Fitbit bring out a waterproof Charge HR then I’ll ditch the Apple Watch and go back to my Breitling. The Nike and Runkeeper watch apps are pretty second rate. Just my opinion. Plus Fitbit announced the Alta HR today. Only showerproof. I’ve ordered it. I’ll run with it connecting to an iPhone SE for GPS. Flex 2 for swimming. The new sleep module looks very good.

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