According to IDC, the total number of smartwatches in the third quarter is less than half as much as the number of smartwatches sold worldwide in Q3 of last year. While total sales crossed 5.6 million units last year, watch makers could sell only 2.7 million smartwatches in the third quarter of this year. However, a look at the reasons behind the difference suggests that the smartwatch market isn't in as much soup as it looks like.
Guess how many smartwatches Apple sold last quarter?
Smartwatch sales during the third quarter of last year jumped because of the launch of the inaugural Apple Watch in April. Apple Watches accounted for a bulk of smartwatch shipments then and was followed by others like Samsung Gear S2, LG Watch Urbane and others. This year, Apple announced their new watch in September and if it manages to excite smartwatch fans, we may get to see a better fourth quarter in terms of shipments, added to the fact that Samsung also announced their Gear S3 smartwatch not too long ago.
According to IDC figures for the third quarter, Apple sold 1.1 million Apple Watches while others like Garmin and Samsung could sell just 600,000 and 400,000 units. This shows that even though it launched much earlier, the Apple Watch continued to maintain its leadership in the smartwatch market over newer entrants. Lenovo and Pebble took the fourth and fifth place in terms of number of smartwatches sold in the third quarter, selling 100,000 units apiece.
"The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning. Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers," said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team.
Apple Watch Series 2: 7 reasons why we think it is just WOW!
Apple's share in the smartwatch market, while retaining its lead, has shown signs of losing steam as time progresses. In the second quarter of this year, sales of Apple Watches went down from 3.6 million units in Q2 of last year to 1.6 million units, bringing Apple's share down from 72% to 47% in the period. At the same time, Samsung, which launched Gear S2 smartwatch in September of last year, managed to sell around 400,000 units of smartwatches in Q2 of last year but has increased the number to 600,000 in Q2 of this year. Lenovo also increased its shipments of smartwatches from 200,000 to 300,000 smartwatches in the period, thereby increasing its share in the smartwatch market from 3% to 9%. Apple's share of overall smartwatch sales in Q3 of this year was a mere 41.3% but we expect it to rise during the 4th quarter thanks to the launch of Apple Watch Series 2.