FRAMINGHAM, MA: The global wearables market reached a new all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2016 after 33.9m units were shipped, representing year-on-year growth of 16.9%.

That is according to International Data Corporation (IDC), a tech research firm, which released its latest findings in the Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

IDC reported that a total of 102.4m wearable devices were shipped in 2016, up 25% year-on-year, as new vendors entered the market and established players refreshed their products.

The report also noted that the market is evolving from single purpose devices into hybrid ones that fuse together multiple health and fitness capabilities with smartphone technology.

"Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Wearables team.

"Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications," he added.

Looking at the top vendors, IDC confirmed that Fitbit maintained its dominance last year with 6.5m shipments in Q4 2016 and 22.5m over the whole year.

Fitbit took 19.2% market share in Q4 2016, but this was down from 29% in Q4 2015 as the company faced serious competition from China's Xiaomi.

Shipments of Xiaomi's wearables jumped 96.2% year-on-year to 5.2m in Q4 2016, giving the company a global market share of 15.2%.

IDC said Fitbit faced one of its largest declines ever because it remained heavily focused on the US, a market which is quickly approaching saturation for fitness trackers.

Apple, Garmin and Samsung accounted for the remaining top five vendors in Q4 2016. Apple secured 13.6% market share after its sales rose 13% year-on-year to 4.6m, which IDC attributed to the success of its Watch Series 1 and Series 2.

Meanwhile, Switzerland-based Garmin secured 6.2% of the market with 2.1m shipments, while Samsung recorded strong year-on-year growth of 37.9% to 1.9m, giving the South Korean firm 5.6% market share.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff