Fitbit maintained its leadership of the wearables device market in Q3 2015, although its market share dropped (to 22.2 per cent from 32.8 per cent a year ago) as new vendors moved into the space, according to IDC.

Global shipments for the total wearables market in the period came in at 21 million, up 198 per cent from 7.1 million a year ago.

With Apple landing second spot (18.6 per cent market share, no change), the iPhone maker is facing tough competition from number three placed Xiaomi (which tripled market share to 17.4 per cent). And further down the line, Chinese newcomer XTC/BBK beat Samsung to land fifth place (with a 3.1 per cent share), despite its focus solely on China, with one device (a child’s phone watch).

“China has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing wearables market, attracting companies eager to compete on price and feature sets. In addition, multiple vendors have experimented with a broad range of products and applications. The challenge, however, is whether these vendors can expand their presence, as few have extended beyond the country’s borders and into other markets,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team.

The research firm also noted that there has been little sign of product canibalisation. While smartwatches have drawn increased attention from companies such as Apple, Motorola, Pebble and Samsung, this has not dampened interest in fitness trackers. In Q3 2015, shipment volumes in both categories grew, showing that “for now, the categories can co-exist and grow”.

“The bifurcation doesn’t just exist in features, but also in price. The average smartwatch or band came in at just over $400 and the average basic watch/band at $94. This leaves a lot of room for new players like Fossil and niche players like Pebble as they have an opportunity to address this space,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

Among the vendors, IDC noted that Fitbit saw continued growth within Asia Pacific, Europe and MEA markets. It has also been able to grow its position in the corporate wellness sector.

Apple saw a slight increase quarter-on-quarter (its Watch was not available last year), mostly as a result of availability in new markets. IDC said that end-user adoption has been focused at the entry level.

In addition to China-focused Xiaomi and XTC/BBK, Garmin also made the top five (claiming 4.1 per cent share, although this was a drop from 7 per cent a year ago), with its focus on “citizen athletes”.