IDC: Apple Watch sales fell 71% last quarter

Smartwatch sales are winding down. Fitness trackers are still ticking.

The smartwatch market took a tumble last quarter, according to IDC, with Apple (down 71% year over year) falling the hardest,

From Monday press release:

Apple's decision to launch its second-generation watches in mid-September, towards the end of the quarter, did contribute to its year-over-year decline in 3Q16. However, the primary reasons for the downturn were an aging lineup and an unintuitive user interface. Though both issues have been addressed with the latest generation watches, Apple's success will likely be muted as the smartwatch category continues to be challenged.

This is how smartwatch market shares stacked up over the last five quarters, by IDC's estimates:


Click to enlarge. Not seeing the graphics? Try the website. 

Here are IDC's unit shipment estimates:


UPDATE: Pebble is about to be acquired by Fitbit, according to The Information.

UPDATE 2: Tim Cook pushed back against IDC's report Monday. See Still no Apple Watch sales numbers from Tim Cook


  1. Tom Wyrick said:
    The headline above is seemingly contradicted by Tim Cook: “Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook said. “Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch.”

    The IDC press release (summarized here) provides two radically different views of the situation. In the chart, Apple’s market share of smartwatches is >40% for the most recent quarter (“vendor’s share by unit shipments,” worldwide). But in the table, Apple’s market share for wearable devices is reported as <5% (1.1 million units divided by 23 million units worldwide).

    One refers to expensive smartwatches, the other includes a lot of low-price, soon-to-be-discarded wearables. Those are two different markets.

    The bar chart shows Garmin's smartwatch market share rising from about 3% to 30% over the past four quarters, while the table says that over the same period Garmin unit sales of wearable devices rose by only about 100,000 units (from 1.2 to 1.3 million).

    With the right qualifications and enough explanation, everything in the IDC report could (potentially) be accurate. But those qualifications and explanations were not provided here. So the article — really an IDC press release — is a confusing mess, as opposed to somenting an investor could rely on for guidance.

    December 6, 2016

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