Apple Watch continues to be the biggest player in smartwatches

App Home Screen Apple Watch Series 4
More than half of holiday smartwatch sales were Apple Watches.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

A record 18 million smartwatches sold in the final three months of 2018 — and Apple Watch made up more than half of them.

That’s according to the latest global sales research figures from Strategy Analytics. The firm suggests that Apple Watch represented 51 percent of global smartwatch sales. Samsung took second place, followed by Fitbit, and Garman.

The figures refer to marketshare, rather than revenue. That makes it even more impressive, since Apple’s smartwatches are some of the pricier (mainstream) models on the market. In all, the firm thinks that Apple shipped 9.2 million smartwatches in Q4 2018.

That’s an 18 percent increase from the 7.8 million units the firm thinks it shipped during the same quarter in 2017. However, Apple’s overall marketshare fell during that time — from 67 percent to 51 percent — due to the increased competition. In particular, Samsung and Fitbit have made impressive gains.

“Global smartwatch shipments grew an impressive 56 percent annually from 11.6 million units in Q4 2017 to a record 18.2 million in Q4 2018,” said Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Global smartwatch shipments hit an all-time high of 45.0 million units in full-year 2018. Smartwatch growth is soaring, as consumers seek to accessorize their smartphones and bring digital connectivity to their wrists.”

A focus on health

One way to explain the increase in Apple Watch sales is through the greater focus on mobile health. In Apple Watch’s earlier days, it was more of an iPhone accessory, with no real clarity as to whether it was for fitness tracking or fashion. Here in 2019, Apple has seemingly honed in on mobile health as the device’s big selling point.

In particular, I suspect that the introduction of the ECG reader for the Apple Watch Series 4 had a big impact on uptake. Tim Cook has suggested that Apple’s work in this area may ultimately be the company’s lasting legacy.

Source: Business Wire