Apple Watch leads smartwatch market by huge lead


Almost seven million Apple Watches shipped in two quarters of availability

Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market, holding onto its sizable lead through the second quarter of Apple Watch shipments, new figures show. The company has now shipped nearly seven million smartwatches since launch, a figure in excess of all other vendors’ combined shipments over the previous five quarters, said research firm, Canalys.

In the third quarter Apple was the only smartwatch vendor to ship more than 300,000 units. The quarter also saw the release of the Pebble Time Steel, which helped that company ship more than 200,000 total smartwatches, while Samsung’s Gear shipments declined ahead of the fourth quarter release of the Gear S2.

Canalys stated that vendors will continue to battle for position behind Apple in the fourth quarter as a raft of new devices from a diverse set of companies hits the market. For example, both Fossil and Tag Heuer will be launching their first smartwatches before the end of the year, it noted.

Fitbit and Xiaomi meanwhile lead the market for basic bands in the third quarter. Xiaomi’s Mi Band surpassed 10 million cumulative shipments during the quarter. Aggressive pricing and frequent promotions have allowed it to hit ambitious sales targets, especially in China. Fitbit managed to realize sequential growth in the third quarter, and its Charge HR band has continued to perform strongly since its introduction.

All eyes will be on Apple Watch sales during the fourth quarter holiday as a barometer of the strength of the nascent smartwatch market, said Canalys analyst Daniel Matte: “After experiencing significant supply chain constraints early on, Apple managed to overcome its production struggles with the Apple Watch and is building momentum going into the fourth quarter. Shipments are steadily increasing as it has greatly expanded the Watch’s channel footprint internationally.”

Vice president and principal analyst at Canalys, Chris Jones, added: “watchOS 2 has brought native apps to the platform, and new colours and styles have refreshed the line up, but Apple needs to continue to generate demand six months after launch.”

Wearable band shipment data is taken from Canalys’ Wearable Technology Analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates.

Canalys defines basic wearable bands as devices serving a specific set of purposes that act as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried and cannot run third party computing applications. Smartwatches are multi-purpose devices that serve as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, run an operating system and are capable of running third party computing applications. Bands are wearables designed to be wrapped around the body, including watches, and do not include activity trackers in the form of clips.


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