China may become the world’s largest wearable customer in 2017, if sales continue to surge as they have in 2016. In the past year, the country has seen an 84 percent increase in wearable sales, reaching 9.5 million between April and June this year.

Analyst firm IDC revealed the numbers earlier this week and predicted 101 million wearable sales in 2016. Wearables include everything from smartwatches, to fitness trackers, to smart clothes.
IDC also revealed a 13.2 percent increase in sales between the first quarter (January-March) to the second quarter.

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Chima might take 30 percent of the entire wearable market in the next year, if sales in North America and Europe remain the same. This might not be good for companies not located inside the red state.

Fitbit, Garmin, and Samsung have not seen large sales inside China, compared to Xiaomi, Lifesense, and BBK, local manufacturers that are able to build experiences tailored to Chinese customers.

Xiaomi gets a big bump

Xiaomi has seen exceptional sales in the past two years on the wearable front, selling 2.8 million Mi Band units. Worldwide, that makes Xiaomi the second largest manufacturer, behind Fitbit.

Apple has been one of the only Western brands to see large sales in the country, selling 400,000 Watch series 1 units. It will be interesting to see if it can maintain customers with the Watch series 2, as Huawei and Xiaomi start to sell more expensive and feature-rich smartwatches.

The wearable market still remains firmly on the wrist, despite some attempts at adding circuitry into clothes. None of the main manufacturers are selling smart clothes or wearables that don’t fit on the wrist, and we doubt that will become a major market in China or anywhere else for a few years.