Survey: Apple Watch Series 1 is world’s most popular smartwatch

From a Counterpoint Research smartwatch report dated last Wednesday, released today:

Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market with a 41% share. Further, smartwatch makers are looking to add cellular connectivity for standalone use-cases as 90% of smartwatches shipped today are not cellular capable…

Commenting on the best-selling smartwatch models during the quarter, Research Director, Neil Shah, noted, “Despite initial hype and traction of cellular based Apple Watch Series 3 in the first two quarters, Apple iPhone users are actually choosing the Series 1 as a non-cellular option over Series 3 non-cellular model which is surprising to many industry watchers. This also shows, Apple users are choosing Series 3 preferably if they want to add cellular connectivity, else Series 1 remains the most popular model contributing to almost nine out of ten Apple Watch sold in Q2 2018. While this is great for Apple from an ecosystem perspective, from an ASP perspective it is not the same bump as Apple would expect with newer iPhone models every year.”

Looking at the different smartwatch platforms, Research Analyst, Flora Tang, added… “The shift to Androidwear OS still hasn’t happened like we have seen in Android for smartphones. This is partly due to lesser focus, less intuitive UI and selective smartwatch OEM partnerships by Google over the last few years for Androidwear OS. Google hopes to change this with the upcoming launch of wear OS 2.0 based watches but will need a complete overhaul of the UI, powerful integration of key Android experiences and by striking key partnerships.”

Counterpoint’s charts:

counterpoint research smartwatch

counterpoint research smartwatch

My take: With perfect timing, my Apple Watch Edition 3 died yesterday. Tiny crack in crystal; water damage. Fixable? Worth fixing? See Watch 4 rumors here.


  1. Ken Cheng said:
    Presumably the AW1 is popular based upon price. I bought one for my graduating nephew for $150 from Macy’s a while back.

    September 6, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Ken, your comment got me to thinking about the potential of Android competition.

      Just how low does a price have to get before consumers opt for the “premium” brand (even if 2 years old) vs a brand new knockoff?

      I think the $150 price point for a 2-year-old Apple Watch is going to be a big barrier to Android expansion in the space.

      In another month or two another, newer model of the Apple Watch is going to be introduced, further distancing it from Android hardware (sensors) and software. The Series 2 will then be offered for $150, and so on.

      Where’s the pricing that makes knockoffs economically feasible? Matching Apple Watch in capabilities has to mean something north of $150. Buying cheap could mean a two-year-old Apple Watch instead of an Android. Apple is using its pricing power very effectively with the Apple Watch. Could the Home Pod be next?

      September 6, 2018
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Thanks. It’s great to see the market share data. I’ve often commented the SmartWatch OSs are more fragmented than SmartPhones. But this is “wow”.

    Quick research on Fitbit shows that they have 2 OS’s one they acquired from Pebble and the more basic (not really a platform OS) one that powers the trackers. The trackers should be removed from the OS counts, making Watch OS even more dominant.

    This article explains why Fitbit rejected Android.,news-25748.html

    There is a giant take home lesson. Apple Watch has a commanding lead, not just in the OS, but in the chips powering the OS. Samsung has the money and skills to approach Apple in chip design, but with 2% market share, there’s no business case. And what is the biz case for anyone to develop state of the art chips for Androidwear? That’s $100M’s if not $B’s of investment. Fitbit’s OS which they acquired from Pebble is optimized for low power. That can be a strong differentiator to challenge Android and Tizen, and to a minor degree, Watch OS.

    Maybe in two years, folks will give Tim Cook credit for this major coup.

    September 6, 2018
  3. Robert Paul Leitao said:

    I do suggest AppleCare when purchasing an Apple Watch. It covers accidental damage. Additionally, iOS supports more than one watch. I wear my Series 3 during the week and my original Apple Watch on weekends especially when doing yard work.

    In my observations, the Apple Watch has become quite ubiquitous and the Series 1delivers the functionality most consumers initially need at a very attractive price. Adoption of the product line is far more important at this time than the ASP. As millions of consumers each quarter acquire an Apple Watch the greater the sales in years to come. Usage provides each consumer with the knowledge to choose the features they desire when it’s time to replace or upgrade their Apple Watch.

    September 6, 2018
    • Fred Stein said:
      Good points. At first it seem odd that 90% of the Apple Watch buyers opt out of cellular. Cellular cost an extra $10 month. It is rare that you can leave your phone behind and only rely on the Watch due to battery life when using cellular.

      This may mean that the more price sensitive, often younger, buyers are opting to buy Apple Watch. That’s a strong positive for future sales and for Apps. While Apple Watch Apps are barely beginning, the rest of the SmartWatch market is not attractive for Apps due to fragmentation.

      September 6, 2018
  4. David Emery said:
    “While Apple captured 41% of the global market in the second quarter, Samsung’s market share shrank YoY to 2.0% from 6.0% the year prior, according to Counterpoint. But that happened before Samsung’s newest smartwatch brand went on sale.

    In a move that could spark fierce competition between the two companies, Samsung has picked up Apple’s strategy of partnering with mobile network operators to distribute its cellular-enabled smartwatch.”

    The headline on this?

    “Can Apple Hold Off Samsung in the Smartwatch Market?”

    September 6, 2018

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