This may come as a surprise unless you live in China, where 97 percent of Xiaomi’s wearable gadgets, like the Mi Band, are shipped, but the company has actually ranked in the top three since the beginning of this year. In fact, in an IDC report released in June before shipments of the Apple Watch were included, Xiaomi actually placed second, which means the Apple Watch knocked it down one place.
The Mi Band, Xiaomi’s first wearable, was unveiled last summer and is a pretty basic BLE fitness tracker. It counts steps taken, hours of sleep, and estimates calories burned (a newer model, Mi Band Pulse, also monitors heart rate). One of the keys to its success is its extremely low price. Starting at just $14.99, the Mi Band is an easy way for people to dabble in wearables without wasting too much money if they get sick of them.
According to IDC, market leader Fitbit shipped 4.7 million wearable units in the third quarter, taking a 22.2 percent market share. Apple shipped 3.9 million units, for a 18.6 percent market share, while Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million units, or 17.4 percent of the market.
Fitbit’s shipment volume increased 101.7 percent year-over-year, while Xiaomi’s jumped 815.4 percent, thanks to China’s position as one of the world’s largest wearables market. Fitbit benefited from growth in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as a large order of 335,000 fitness trackers from Target, which gave the devices to its employees for a company-wide fitness program.