IDC: 'Apple suddenly finds itself on top of the wearables market'

Apple Watch shipments grew 57% year over year, according to IDC.

From Global Wearables Market Grows 7.7% in 4Q17 and 10.3% in 2017 as Apple Seizes the Leader Position, Says IDC:

"The 10.3% year-over-year growth in 2017 is a marked decline from the 27.3% growth we saw in 2016," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables team. "The slowdown is not due to a lack of interest – far from it. Instead, we saw numerous vendors, relying on older models, exit the market altogether. At the same time, the remaining vendors – including multiple start-ups – have not only replaced them, but with devices, features, and services that have helped make wearables more integral in people's lives. Going forward, the next generation of wearables will make the ones we saw as recently as 2016 look quaint."

Apple, meanwhile, suddenly finds itself atop the wearables market. "Interest in smartwatches continues to grow and Apple is well-positioned to capture demand," added Llamas. "User tastes have become more sophisticated over the past several quarters and Apple pounced on the demand for cellular connectivity and streaming multimedia. What will bear close observation is how Apple will iterate upon these and how the competition chooses to keep pace."

Below: IDC's spreadsheet. Note its Apple Watch estimate of 57% growth year over year.

IDC Apple Watch

Click to enlarge. 

My take: For years the Apple Watch was an industry joke. Who's laughing now?


  1. David Emery said:
    “suddenly”? The only thing “sudden” about this was the realization what the actual market has been doing for the last several years. IDC -should- have a lot of explaining to do on how badly they’ve been measuring the market before now.

    April 9, 2018
  2. John Butt said:
    Apple have another fruit to pick on this market. The cellular connectivity market has only partly been tapped. I am holding off buying an update, waiting for cellular option availability in NZ.

    April 9, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Beautiful validation of Apple’s investment deep in the chips and software. No other SmartWatches can compare. They can only compete on price. Only AppleWatch has a chance to grow an ecosystem. Maybe Huawei, someday, can grow an ecosystem.

    April 9, 2018
  4. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    8 million in one quarter? It seems like we’re getting awfully close to the material impact that would require Apple Watch to be reported at earnings. We’ll know soon enough if these growth rates continue.

    April 9, 2018
  5. Patrick Beyrouti said:
    while the focus is on the Watch , Airpods have been doing so well , not yet radar worthy of many . The section Apple refers to as “other products” when reporting is growing big time and soon will be a $20 billion business annually . Carries a generous margin tooooo.

    April 10, 2018

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