Xiaomi passes Apple to become world’s biggest smartwatch maker

Xiaomi has passed Apple to become the world’s leading smartwatch manufacturer in terms of shipments, data from research firm Canalys shows.

The Chinese tech giant shipped 8 million wearable bands in the second quarter of 2021, accounting for almost 20% of all units sold.

The company just edged Apple’s 7.9 million shipments over the same period.

Xiaomi has also recorded huge growth in another major tech category in recent months, beating Apple to become the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker in the second quarter of the year.

In terms of wearables, Canalys said Xiaomi was boosted by the launch of the Mi Smart Band 6, despite one of its biggest markets — India — not being on the initial launch list.

“Xiaomi made a wise move to hasten the release of the Mi Band 6, which is a more compelling device than its predecessor,” said research analyst Cynthia Chen.

“Xiaomi’s quick pivot to basic watches also helped the company boost its wristwatch shipments by 1.3 million units this quarter.”

Huawei held on to a distant third place, despite a year-on-year drop in shipments of more than 50%.

Fitbit and Samsung completed the top five, with 3.0 million and 2.5 million shipments, respectively.

Overall, the global wearable band market grew 5.6% year-on-year with a total of 40.9 million units shipped.

The table below shows the top manufacturers of wearable bands by shipments during the second quarter of 2021, and shows their growth from Q2 2020.

Global wearable band shipments and growth — Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020
Vendor Q2 2021 shipments Q2 2021 market share Q2 2020 shipments Q2 2020 market share Annual growth
Xiaomi 8.0 million 19.6% 7.8 million 20.1% +2.6%
Apple 7.9 million 19.3% 6.1 million 15.8% +29.4%
Huawei 3.7 million 9.2% 8.1 million 21.0% -53.9%
Fitbit 3.0 million 7.3% 2.5 million 6.4% +20.6%
Samsung 2.5 million 6.1% 1.2 million 3.0% +114.1%
Others 15.8 million 38.6% 13.1 million 33.7%  +20.7%
Total 40.9 million 100.0% 38.7 million 100.0% +5.6%

Basic fitness bands have continued to decline in sales while more capable wristwatches have increased their market share to more than 60%, Canalys said.

Apple does not compete in the cheaper fitness bands category, so all of its 7.9 million shipments fell under the premium wristwatch category, where it has remained the dominant manufacturer.

Second-placed Huawei saw a massive decline of around 34% in the market, while third and fourth-placed Garmin and Samsung increased their shipments by 7.3% and 84.7%, respectively.

Xiaomi’s shipments grew by a staggering 272.6% in this category, going from about 400,000 in Q2 2020 to 1.5 million in Q2 2021.

The table below shows the top smart wristwatch manufacturers of Q2 2021 and how their shipments grew compared to the same period last year.

Global premium smartwatch shipments and growth — Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020
Vendor Q2 2021 shipments Q2 2021 market share Q2 2020 shipments Q2 2020 market share Annual growth
Apple 7.9 million 31.1% 6.1 million 33.1% +29.4%
Huawei 2.3 million 9.0% 3.5 million 18.9% -33.9%
Garmin 1.9 million 7.6% 1.8 million 9.8% +7.3%
Samsung 1.8 million 7.0% 1.0 million 5.2% +84.7%
Xiaomi 1.5 million 5.7% 0.4 million 2.1% +272.6%
Others 10.0 million 39.5% 5.7 million 30.9% +76.7%
Total 25.4 million 100.0% 18.4 million  100.0% +37.9%

Now read: Redesign for Apple Watch Series 7 revealed

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Xiaomi passes Apple to become world’s biggest smartwatch maker