IDC: Apple Watch continues to dominate the worldwide smartwatch market

According to data from the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15. Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.

“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team. “Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers.”

Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters
Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters

Top Five Smartwatch Vendors

Apple maintained its position as the overall leader of the worldwide smartwatch market. Its first-generation Watches accounted for the majority of volumes during the quarter, leading to the significant downturn for the quarter ahead of anticipated new models. Apple could be heading for a sequential rebound in 4Q16.

Garmin posted the largest year-over-year increase among the leading vendors, thanks to its growing list of ConnectIQ-enabled smartwatches and the addition of the fenix Chronos. Whereas other smartwatches attempt to be multi-purpose devices, Garmin’s smartwatches focus on health and fitness, and the applications reflect that strategy. Its total volumes helped to extend its lead ahead over Samsung.

Samsung finished 3Q16 slightly higher from a year ago. The company introduced its follow-up, the Gear S3, with a Bluetooth-only version as well as a cellular version, but it has yet to be released to the market.

Lenovo (Motorola) suffered the largest year-over-year decline among the leading vendors. In addition, 3Q16 marks the first time in which Motorola did not introduce a new smartwatch in time for the holiday quarter, adding to its decline in the market.

IDC: Top Five Smartwatch Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, 3Q 2016 (Units in Millions)
Table Notes:
• Data is subject to change.
• Vendor shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
• Data only includes smartwatches capable of running third party applications on the device itself. Examples include Apple Watch, Moto 360, Gear S2. Devices like the Fitbit Blaze and Withings Activité are excluded since IDC considers these as “Basic Wearables” that do not run third party applications.
• All other wearable form factors (i.e. earwear, clothing, wrist bands, etc.) are excluded.

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Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: Even on the last legs of Apple Watch “Series 0” and watchOS 2, Apple dominated. A bunch of stupidwatches are obviously no match for the world’s only true smartwatch.

Computerworld reviews Apple Watch Series 2: Delivers on first generation’s promise – October 21, 2016
Computerworld reviews Apple Watch Series 2: It’s time to jump in – September 27, 2016
Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Great experience with very few hiccups’ – September 22, 2016
Mossberg reviews Apple’s watchOS 3: Quicker, easier, and more useful – September 21, 2016
CNET reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘The smooth wrist companion it was always meant to be’ – September 14, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Apple Watch finds its purpose in life’ – September 14, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple Watch Series 2: There’s something effortlessly cool about it – September 14, 2016
Apple Watch Series 2: Apple refocuses its smartwatch – September 12, 2016
Apple and Nike launch the perfect running partner, Apple Watch Nike+ – September 7, 2016


  1. And I’m dominating the space travel business… a market that doesn’t exist.

    After all of this time, not only do I not see hardly anybody wearing an Apple Watch, I hardly ever see anyone using smartwatch period.

    1. Where do you live? Eastern Montana?

      Seriously, it matters where you live to a large degree and what you do. I travel, which means I see flight attendants wearing a lot of Apple Watch’s, and first class folk. Business people are also wearing them more.

      My bro just picked one up, and I’m getting mine soon. Series 2 seems to be what I was waiting for – what the original should have been. Series 2 looks just about right.

  2. Waiting for Macy’s to get it in-stores. Then I will get Macy’s card, and get 20% off my first purchase. For a $399 Series 2 Apple Watch, that’s $80 off. Best deal there is, and no annual fee with the Macy’s card. Can also get 10% of everything spent – end of year back on a gift card shipped to my door in February. Kinda a deal.

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