Canalys: Apple Watch to dominate smartwatch market, trigger copycats

Apple Watch will make up the majority of smartwatch shipments next year, according to Canalys.

Wearable band shipments will grow 129% year on year to reach 43.2 million units in 2015, of which 28.2 million will be smart bands and 15.0 million will be basic bands, according to the latest device shipment forecasts by industry analyst firm Canalys. Canalys tracks wearable device shipments and segments the market into smart bands, which are capable of running third-party applications, and basic bands, which are not.

Apple will be the biggest driver behind wearable band shipments in 2015. “By creating a new user interface tailored to its tiny display, Apple has a produced a smart watch that mass-market consumers will actually want to wear,” said Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte in a statement. “The sleek software, variety of designs and reasonable entry price make for a compelling new product. Apple must still prove, however, that the final product will deliver adequate battery life for consumers.”

Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want a smart band, justifiably demanding compelling use cases. Hoping to address these concerns with its new wearable, Apple has demonstrated a variety of use cases, including health and fitness and personal communication, as well as other areas, such as mapping for walking navigation, workout and activity tracking, and mobile payments. Meanwhile, low-cost Chinese vendors are increasingly playing a role in the market for wearable bands. Xiaomi has attempted to dramatically lower the price of basic bands with its Mi Band. Android Wear is growing a viable ecosystem, though it cannot be used in China. Google must greatly improve its wearable platform over the coming years to better compete with Apple’s new offering. Long-term, wearable bands from all vendors must provide clear value to consumers beyond the existing capabilities of smart phones in order to justify the purchase of an additional device.

Canalys smartwatcehs

The basic band vendors, such as Fitbit and Jawbone, will enjoy the advantages of their lower pricing for the immediate future,’ according to Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. ‘Eventually, however, stronger smart band competitors to the Apple Watch will likely emerge and push smart band pricing down, threatening the basic bands. This market will undergo disruption similar to that suffered by feature phones when smart phone prices fell.’

Wearable band shipment data and five-year forecasts are taken from Canalys’ Wearable Technology Analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates. Canalys defines basic wearable bands as devices serving a specific set of purposes that act as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, and that cannot run third-party computing applications. Smart wearable bands are multi-purpose devices that serve as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, and are capable of running third-party computing applications. Bands are wearables designed to be wrapped around the body and do not include activity trackers in the form of clips.

Source: Canalys

MacDailyNews Take: Let the patent and trade dress infringement begin! Fear not, Apple Watch knockoff, justice, if it ever arrives, will be many years down the road and cost you but a fraction of your ill-gotten profits. Samsung et al., rejoice, thieves!


  1. Apple has more than an Apple Watch, which will be key to their domination of mobile payments in the near term, regardless of the knockoff-trade dress-patents that Apple holds.

    Apple has a database of well over half a billion high spending tech-savvy customers who use the Apple devices they buy.

    Retailers and credit card companies both have very high reasons to support Apple, just to decrease the hacking & register losses at stores. They become Apple Partners.

    Samsung can’t deliver that.

  2. Copycats who will have to develop and sell their wares for $99. Good luck with that. Another money losing venture for everyone except Apple. Meanwhile Cupertino moves forward on new revolutionary products with their investment recouped and new profits generated. Look at the iPhone 6 in 2014 and you can begin to imagine how far Apple Watch will come in the years ahead.

  3. Let us give thanks for the brilliance and insight of analysts that adds such richness to our day.

    I certainly never thought Apple would “dominate smartwatch market”. And as for “trigger copycats”… I’m sure no-one here figured that would happen.

  4. “Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want a smart band…”

    Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want an iPod.

    Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want an iPhone.

    Many market observers have questioned why consumers would want an iPad.

    The market observers never learn do they?

  5. I think Apple should make the Apple Watch Android compatible. As it is, it’s only a iPhone peripheral which seriously compromises it target demographic. If they make it Android compatible, the way the iPod was made Windows compatible, then they may have a real blockbuster on their hands, complete with halo effect.

  6. Their premise is incorrect. They state competition will drive the Spple Watch’s price down. That hasn’t happened with MacBooks, iPods, iPhones ir iPads. Lower priced “competitors” are exposed for what they are — cheap junk lacking in features.

    Apple Watch also trounces the smartwatch competitors in a VERY important area: Apple Watch looks like jewelry, where other smart watches look like cheap plastic boxes with a screen. They’re not pretty, and thus not desirable.

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