Apple Watch sales grow as Samsung drops out of the top five wearables rankings

Samsung Gear S2

Apple is hot on the heels of Fitbit for the top spot in the worldwide wearables market, according to IDC. The Apple Watch has seen a slight bump in sales from an estimated 3.6M units in Q2 to 3.9M in Q3. This makes Apple the number two wearables vendor worldwide after Fitbit, with Chinese vendor Xiaomi finishing third, and newcomer XTC helping knock Samsung out of the top five.

"The early stages of the wearables market have led to tight competition among the leading vendors, and Chinese vendors have seized upon market momentum to grab market share," noted Ramon Llamas, Research Manager for IDC's Wearables team. "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."

The IDC noted that both fitness bands and smartwatches are enjoying sales growth this year, proving so far that the "categories can co-exist and grow." Sales are also expected to get a bump from the current holiday shopping season and from manufacturers adding cross platform capabilities.

Pebble recently introduced an iOS texting feature for its latest smartwatches, and Samsung is allegedly working on launching a Gear Manager iOS app for its Gear S2 devices, according to SamMobile. The iOS app could help boost Samsung smartwatch sales as it would allow users to use a Gear S2 with an iOS device, instead of needing an Android smartphone or tablet. The Gear Manager app is expected to be a lot like Apple's own Watch app, which allows users to access settings to customize their smartwatch from their iPhone.