Apple has become the leading global vendor of wearable bands, according to research firm Canalys, which has found that the tech giant shipped 4.2 million Apple Watches in the 2015 second quarter.According to Canalys, Apple “easily overtook” Fitbit and Xiaomi in taking out top position, along with rival smartwatch vendors, despite the Apple Watch’s significantly higher pricing.
By way of comparison, in the 2015 first quarter, Canalys found that in total more than 7 million units were shipped in the wearable band market, with Fitbit in first place and Xiaomi in second place. At the time, Canalys forecast that 20 million Apple Watches would be shipped in 2015.
Canalys noted that early sales of the Apple Watch were hindered due to Apple missing the 2014 quarter four holiday season, along with supply constraints stalling shipments for the first couple months after its launch.
The Apple Watch, Apple’s first foray into the wearable market, launched at the end of April, however was initially only available online, with Apple working to clear a backlog of orders following its release.
Chris Jones, Canalys VP and principal analyst, noted the smartwatch market faces a number of challenges going forward.
‘The Apple Watch is the most sophisticated smartwatch to date, and it has proved popular with Apple fans worldwide,” Jones commented. “But Apple and other vendors still face important challenges to make the smartwatch a breakout hit.
“Improvements in performance, battery life and sensor integration are needed to make future models more attractive, but it is the quality of third-party apps that will determine whether the Apple Watch will be a long-term success.”