It seems that when it comes to wearable tech bands, Fitbit is at the top of the heap. A report from analyst firm Canalys says that Fitbit’s line of products claimed roughly half of the 2.7 million fitness bands sold the world over in the first quarter of 2014.
The report breaks “bands” into two categories: basic and smart. The main difference between the two seems to be the number of functions each device can handle. Fitness trackers like Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike’s nearly defunct FuelBand devices are categorized as basic bands in the report. Meanwhile, smartwatches like the Samsung Gear line, Pebble, and Sony’s Smartwatch fall under the “smart” band category.
Despite the categorical breakdown, the Fitbit still managed to outsell all of its rivals in the entire band landscape (…bandscape?). The report points out this victory came in spite of the Fitbit Force recall in February, and the subsequent class action lawsuit in March, when Fitbit was sued by users who claimed the device caused rashes.
“While a significant number of Force bands had shipped, the recall only affected the initial roll-out in the US and Canada,” reads the report. “The issue was handled well and did not dramatically slow the company’s sales momentum.”
In the case of smartbands, Canalys claims that Pebble edged out the competition, taking 35 percent of the market, while Sony and Samsung trailed behind with 29 and 23 percent shares, respectively. Interestingly, those particular numbers don’t quite line up with what we had heard earlier this week, when Strategy Analytics claimed that Samsung had sold 500,000 of the 700,000 total smartwatches throughout the world in the same period. According to their report, Pebble and Sony sold a mere 80,000 apiece.
The reasons for this disparity between the two reports is not clear. The difference could simply be down to categorization: perhaps Strategy Analytics defines “smartwatch” differently than Canalys seems to define “smartband,” even though both firms appear to be talking about the same devices. Moreover, Canalys could be taking the many reported returns of Samsung’s smartwatches into account.
Either way, tech companies seem to believe that the future in the wearables space is bright, no matter who is leading the pack. This summer will see two new major smartwatches from LG and Motorola hit retail shelves, while many predict that Apple will reveal its long rumored iWatch any day now. Once that happens, Fitbit and Samsung may struggle to find a spot on the next round of analytical reports.