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Wearable Tech

Apple and Xiaomi trump Fitbit to become wearable kings

The wearables industry grew nearly 20 percent year-on-year, and Apple was the biggest beneficiary.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There's a lot happening in the wearables world. Fitbit is down, but overall shipments are up, leading to Apple and Xiaomi taking equal first place. 

Apple is the king of the smartwatch, while Xiaomi's cheaper Mi Bands have been a hit in its homeland of China, according to a Monday report from the International Data Corporation. Both companies shipped 3.6 million devices in the first quarter, a huge 64.1 percent growth for Apple. Xiaomi was actually down 3.3 percent.  

It was a big win in general for wearables, with a year-on-year industry growth of 17.9 percent -- shipments went from 20.9 million last year during the same time period to 24.7 million this year. The exception was Fitbit, who fell to third position after its shipments shrank 37.7 percent.

"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," said IDC's Ramon Llamas. "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensives devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide."  

Don't count Fitbit out yet, however. The brand, which shipped 3 million devices compared to Apple and Xiaomi's 3.6 million each, has an estimated user base of 50 million, with Llamas noting it's "well positioned to move into new segments and markets." 

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