Friday, 15 December, 2017

The smartwatch market is in decline and it's all Apple's fault

Apple Watch Remains Nearly Three Times as Popular as Samsung Smartwatches Smartwatch shipments fall 32 percent in Q2, Apple leads category downdraft
Garry Little | 22 July, 2016, 06:57

Despite a down quarter, Apple remains far and away the market leader in smartwatches. Smartwatch vendors shipped just 3.5 million units during Q2 2016, down from 5.1 million units over the same quarter previous year.

The Apple Watch saw a hefty drop in global shipments last quarter but still managed to top the charts.

Apple still managed to stay ahead of arch rival Samsung, which saw its shipments rise last quarter to 600,000, from 400,000 in the prior year's quarter.

To be fair, the Apple Watch hasn't been updated - except for the software - since its splashy launch past year.

The numbers suggest that the Apple Watch remains almost three times as popular as Samsung Gear smartwatches, almost fifteen months after launching in the US and eight other countries.

"Consumers have held off on smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh, and improvemnets in WatchOS are not expected until later this year, effectively stalling existing Apple Watch sales".

Apple Watch Remains Nearly Three Times as Popular as Samsung Smartwatches
Big surprise, hardly anybody is buying smartwatches

In fact, outside of Apple business is good, with Samsung, Lenovo and LG (the number two, three and four smartwatch vendors) all enjoying more sales now than in the same period in 2015. But each of those companies recorded double-digit growth, while Apple recorded a double-digit decline.

A new version of watchOS was released recently, and Apple Watch 2 could be released in September.

"This is a very cyclical market", said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, who noted that consumers appeared to be waiting for a next-generation Apple Watch with improved features.

As the biggest driver of the smartwatch hype - and sales - last year, there has been little development to spur those sales forward.

As smartwatch platforms advance and gain cellular connectivity, and developers build more native apps, smartwatches will appeal more to a broader audience, "ultimately leading to a growing market", Llamas said.

Cupertino's wrist candy continues to be the most popular smartwatch on the market, despite the massive drop in sales. "Combine these with the brand recognition and distribution these brands already have, and it's reasonable to expect the smartwatch market to grow from here".

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