Anyone can project billions of dollars in the future, but counting actual shipping products is hard. The consulting firm Canalys reports that Fitbit shipped nearly half of all wearable bands in the world in the first quarter of 2014.
Overall, Canalys reported, 2.7 million wearable bands shipped worldwide last quarter, and Fitbit’s strength was despite the skin rash-related recall of Fitbit Force. Second in the market was Jawbone, which first shipped the UP24 band at the end of 2013. Nike’s Fuelband accounted for just 10 percent of the market, perhaps ratifying the company’s apparent backing off on the hardware business.
Canalys splits the market into “basic” segment, with more than 2.2 million bands shipped, and “smart” segments, with fewer than 500,000 shipments. In the “smart” segment, Pebble leads with 35 percent of the market, driven by the introduction of the Pebble Steel. Sony follows at 29 percent — remember, these are global numbers — and Samsung at 23.
Analyst Joe Kempton points out that these figures are volatile, given the pace of new product introductions. The Samsung figures, for instance, don’t include the Gear Fit or the Gear 2, which are much better products than their predecessors. And, of course, the market awaits the first wave of Android Wear products later this year as well as the expected wrist device from Apple.