Slice Intelligence, which measures tech sales by monitoring e-mails to a recruited user panel, tells Bloomberg that Fitbit’s sales are outpacing those of the Apple Watch — once you discount Apple’s initial sales surge.
The figures they present do appear to be compelling, but there may be less there than meets the eye. Fitbit apparently had a holiday surge, as did pretty much everyone else in the industry. Fitbit sales, Slice said, were alone in the industry by jumping again in late April, between the time the Apple Watch went on sale and when it was delivered.
Slice’s numbers, however, don’t take into account that Fitbit’s 2014 product line — the Charge, Charge HR, and Surge — didn’t reach distribution in any scale until April; those sales represented the same kind of pent-up demand that Apple Watch’s initial rush of 1.4 million units represented.
Note, too, that every other vendor is down in the noise. (Xiaomi, which by many accounts is challenging the wearables market in China, does not seem to appear in Slice’s panel.)
Is Fitbit really outselling the Apple Watch? Maybe, although these numbers don’t really show it. What they do show, unarguably, is that the smart band business is right now a two (or three) company race. And that although second-quarter numbers will certainly show that Apple shipped more units than anyone, the market has expanded and Apple will not be a walk-over winner.