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Apple falls behind Xiaomi and Fitbit in wearable shipments ahead of LTE Apple Watch launch

Canalys is out with new data on the worldwide wearable band market for Q2 2017 that puts Apple in third place behind Xiaomi and Fitbit. Separate analysis saw Apple beat both brands during the previous quarter.

The figures combine both pricier smart watches and cheaper fitness bands which explains Apple’s third place finish, but Canalys expects LTE connectivity to boost the smartwatch market during the second half of this year.

While Apple doesn’t break out sales numbers for the Apple Watch like it does other products, Canalys estimates that Apple shipped 2.7 million Apple Watches during the Q2 2017. That compares to their 3.8 million unit estimate from the previous quarter according to Canalys.

Fitness bands from Xiaomi and Fitbit saw a strong sell-through during the second quarter, Canalys says, with 3.5 million units and 3.3 million units shipped, respectively. Despite its second place finish, Fitbit’s numbers represent a 34% year-over-year drop according to the report.

As for Apple, Canalys expects the adoption of LTE connectivity to grow the smartwatch market during the second half of this year.

But Canalys predicts that the smartwatch market will receive a boost in the second half of 2017, driven by cellular-enabled smartwatches, which are forecast to ship 12 million units by the end of the year. With Apple widely expected to include cellular capabilities in the next revision of its Apple Watch, it will secure its position as the key driver of smartwatch growth in the second half of 2017.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Apple plans to release an LTE-enabled Apple Watch before the end of the year (which may include a new form factor).

Canalys expects more than 20 million cellular smartwatches to ship next year with nearly 40 million shipping throughout 2021. If Apple does ship a new Apple Watch later this year, it will see new competition in the smartwatch space from Fitbit which is currently planning to ship a new smartwatch of its own.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.