Smartwatches continued to take an increasing share of wrist-worn wearable revenue, while still accounting for less than half of shipments, data from Canalys showed.

Shipments of what the analyst company tagged “wearable bands” grew 35 per cent year-on-year in Q1 to 20.5 million units, thanks to strong demand for health-centric devices.

While smartwatches accounted for just 43 per cent of band shipments (with basic bands accounting for the other 57 per cent), they took home 80 per cent of the revenue (up from a 74 per cent share in Q1 2017).

Canalys did not provide monetary revenue figures.

Vendor rundown
Apple and Xiaomi were the top two wearables vendors in the quarter with around an 18 per cent share of shipments each.

Canalys senior analyst Jason Low noted the Apple Watch 3 had been key to its success, adding “the list of operators that sell the LTE Apple Watch worldwide is increasing each month”. The vendor holds around a 59 per cent share of the cellular-enabled smartwatch market, but Low said there’s still an opening for a major cellular watch competitor to emerge in the Android ecosystem.

“If Google decides to pursue the opportunity with a rumoured Pixel Watch, it would jump-start much needed competition in this space,” he said.

While Fitbit was the third largest wearable vendor overall with an 11 per cent share of shipments, Canalys noted fourth-placed Garmin (7 per cent share overall) snagged the number two spot for smartwatches, behind Apple.

Canalys research analyst Vincent Thielke said: “Garmin’s transition to smartwatches has been swift as it focuses its GPS expertise on catering to endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.”

He noted the company added features such as Garmin Pay and music storage to its lineup to attract new users, but warned upkeep of the new services “could prove costly should Garmin be the sole driver of such an ecosystem”.