IDC estimates Apple sold 3.6 million Apple Watch units in Q2

In its first appearance in the wearables market, Apple finds itself within striking distance of the established market leader, Fitbit. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), just 0.8 million units behind Fitbit’s 4.4 million units. Total shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1 million units, up 223.2% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 2Q14.

“Anytime Apple enters a new market, not only does it draw attention to itself, but to the market as a whole,” noted Ramon Llamas, Research Manager for IDC’s Wearables team, in a statement. “Its participation benefits multiple players and platforms within the wearables ecosystem, and ultimately drives total volumes higher. Apple also forces other vendors – especially those that have been part of this market for multiple quarters – to re-evaluate their products and experiences. Fairly or not, Apple will become the stick against which other wearables are measured, and competing vendors need to stay current or ahead of Apple. Now that Apple is officially a part of the wearables market, everyone will be watching to see what other wearable devices it decides to launch, such as smart glasses or hearables.”

Apple’s arrival had the greatest impact on the smart wearables category, or those devices capable of running third party applications. “About two of every three smart wearables shipped this quarter was an Apple Watch,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Aanalyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “Apple has clearly garnered an impressive lead in this space and its dominance is expected to continue. And, although Fitbit outshipped Apple, it’s worth noting that Fitbit only sells basic wearables – a category that is expected to lose share over the next few years, leaving Apple poised to become the next market leader for all wearables.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, Apple Watch already has some 66% market share in “smart wearables” after debuting to severe supply constraints and just now, in calendar Q3, rolling out to retailers and countries around the world.

In the short history of the wearable market, a clear divide has formed between smart wearables and basic wearables (devices that do not run third-party applications, and includes most fitness trackers). Price and functionality are the main differences between the two categories, and that gap is expected to widen over time. For vendors focused on basic wearables, the challenge will be to compete with the additional features offered by smart wearables while still turning a profit in the price sensitive basic wearables market.

Fitbit‘s 2Q15 saw triple-digit year-over-year worldwide volume growth; double-digit year-over-year worldwide revenue and profit growth; expanded partnerships with corporate wellness groups, fashion, and food companies; and increased visibility in the media.

Apple‘s first appearance in the wearables market finds it in the number 2 position overall, and well within reach of market leader Fitbit. Apple is just getting started with its Watch, having reached just sixteen geographic markets to date and starting agreements with third-party retailers. But what is most important is the continued development of the watchOS platform. At its WWDC in June, Apple announced that the next version of watchOS will allow for native applications, which could have a similar effect that iPhones enjoyed when native apps became available.

Xiaomi made a fairly big splash when it entered the wearables market last year with its Mi Band. Since then its growth has been unstoppable in China as the vendor was quick to introduce rock-bottom prices. Xiaomi recently expanded into markets outside China although its limited distribution channels have been a dampening factor on its growth.

Garmin‘s laser-like focus on fitness devices for “citizen athletes” (runners, cyclists, and swimmers) has been successful so far, though increasing competition from the likes of Fitbit and Xiaomi has led to a reduction in share. Garmin’s new ConnectIQ platform may help alleviate some of the pressure as it attempts to offer access to third party applications, data fields, watch faces, and widgets to further customize its wearable devices.

Samsung narrowly edged out Huawei and Jawbone to remain among the top 5 vendors during the quarter. Given Samsung’s history of making its latest wearable devices compatible only with Samsung’s top models and nearly exclusive reliance on Tizen, the company has limited its potential reach. Whether that trend continues with the Gear S2 will bear close observation.

Top Five Wearables Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2 2015 (Units in Millions)
IDC: Top Five Wearables Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2 2015 (Units in Millions)

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, August 27, 2015

MacDailyNews Take: Lumping in Apple Watch with Fitbit bands is like measuring iPhone against flip phones. It like throwing bicycles and cars together into a “vehicles market.” Meaningless stupidity.

If they’re interested in providing meaningful reports regarding wearables, IDC obviously needs to break out “fitness wearables” and “smartwatches” into separate reports, with Apple Watch in each.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Another set of useless, virtually made up out of thin air, numbers from IDC.

    I’ve always wondered how they stay in business with their repeated (and virtually continuously) wrong numbers.

  2. “According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15)”…

    A totally invented number since Apple dosn’t break them out. And, even if they did, Apple reports sold numbers, not shipped.

  3. I really doubt the Apple sold that many units in Q215. The increase in revenue that Apple reported for the product group which included the Apple Watch would have been higher if that was the case (I don’t believe TC’s statement about not be able to extrapolate units sold from the numbers).

  4. Why does IDC waste everyone’s time releasing a useless report that a 5th grader could probably look at and see that its useless.

    Largely because unless all these companies are providing sales data to IDC and we know Apple isn’t, so its a big guess, and Apple is probably going, wow, are they off the mark… too bad we won’t tell them…

  5. I don’t see any mention of the profit share of these different wearables. It seems like only this week that IDC belatedly came to the conclusion that profit share might be more valuable to a company than the bragging rights offered by market share.

    1. Perhaps the reasoning is that marketshare is better representative of the number of people that own the product. Something a bit difficult to determine and compare with using profit share..

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