After a short disruption by Xiaomi, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is again back at the top of the list of global wearable band market. The launch of Apple Watch Series 3 is one major reason for Apple’s stellar performance in the third-quarter.

Apple Watch Series 3 Wearable Band market
fancycrave1 / Pixabay

Wearable band market – basic bands losing shine

According to research firm Canalys, the U.S. firm shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units in the third-quarter, the strongest ever for Apple. This is a big jump from the 2.8 million units shipped last year. Apple now commands 23% of the wearable band market, compared to 21% for Xiaomi, who bagged the top spot for the first time in the previous quarter.

Chinese firm Xiaomi slipped to the second spot with 3.6 million wearables, while Fitbit remained at the third place with 3.5 million units. It is worth noting that Xiaomi and Fitbit primarily sell basic wearable, while Apple solely dominates the smartwatch category for now.

Apple Watch Series 3
Image Source: Canalys (screenshot)

Traditionally, the third-quarter is seen as the weakest period for sales as potential buyers hold off until the holidays, but according to Canalys, all top vendors registered a growth in shipments. Despite increased shipments, the overall wearable band market dropped by 2% to 17.3 million units, primarily due to the waning demand for the basic bands, Canalys estimates.

All thanks to Apple Watch Series 3

Launched in September, Apple Watch Series 3 played a major role in pushing Apple back to the top spot. It must be noted that the Watch Series 3 was only on sale for the last ten days of the quarter ending September.  Also, the watch did not reach its full potential in the quarter, suffering limited availability with demand outstripping supply.

Offering a “tetherless” experience along with highlighting the health features of the app has surely worked in favor of the U.S. firm.  “The ability to go for a run with just your Apple Watch, or go for a quick errand without your phone, while staying connected, is a game changer,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the recent earnings call.

The drop in the prices of the previous generation watches following the launch of the Watch Series 3, also helped Apple to push watch sales. The company also released new WatchOS 4 for the Watch generations. In most of the markets, only the Wi-Fi version of the Watch Series 3 is available. However, some of the markets got the LTE variant as well. In the third-quarter, Apple reportedly shipped about 800,000 units of the cellular-enabled variant, according to Canalys.

“Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers’ doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers,” said Canalys analyst Jason Low. The research firm believes that the carriers underestimated the demand for the cellular version. The Chinese government has currently disabled the Apple Watch LTE access due to apparent security concerns, but the once the issue is resolved, Canalys expects strong demand from the Chinese buyers as well, according to 9to5mac.

With holiday sales starting soon, the year 2017 is expected to be record-breaking for Apple’s wearable division.

At 9.53 a.m. EST, Apple shares were down 0.57% at $173.02. Year to date, the stock is up over 49%, while in the last one-month, it is up over 10%.