Apple Watch sales hit all-time high while Fitbit stumbles

“The Apple Watch is moving on up,” Brent Dirks reports for AppAdvice. “According to new research from IDC, Apple Watch sales reached record highs in the fourth quarter of 2016 while Fitbit took a substantial tumble.”

“While Apple doesn’t release specific numbers, IDC estimates that 4.6 million devices were sold during the fourth quarter of 2016,” Dirks reports. “That’s good enough for 13.6 percent of the wearables [unit share] market that also includes basic fitness trackers. In the same quarter in 2016, Apple sold an estimated 4.1 million watches.”

Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 proved to be a magnificent success for the company as it was the company’s best quarter ever in the wearables market. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of GPS on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence. Apple is one of the few companies that has been able to quickly refocus its watch to gain traction in the consumer market and has also been leading the charge on introducing the smartwatch category to the commercial segment. — International Data Corporation

“During the quarter,” Dirks reports, “Apple took third place in the overall market [unit sales] behind No. 2 Xiaomi and leader Fitbit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in December 2015:

Mixing Apple Watches that start at $349 [now $269] with fitness bands that you can get for under $20 (Xiaomi Mi Band) is a goofy way to measure unit share, but, of course, if IDC measured anything correctly, we’d probably have a collective stroke.

The Apple Watch is winning – March 2, 2017
Apple Watch had massive holiday quarter; took nearly 80% share of total smartwatch revenue – February 10, 2017
The Apple Watch ‘WOW’ moment – February 3, 2017
Apple Watch dominates with 63% of worldwide smartwatch market – February 2, 2017
Apple smashes Street; iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch set all-time records – January 31, 2017
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: Pebble is dead – December 7, 2016
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: ‘Microsoft Band’ wearable is dead – October 4, 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


  1. If a company is struggling financially, it doesn’t matter how large their market share percentage is. I’ll never understand the whole idea of boasting about market share. That metric certainly doesn’t tell the whole story of how a company is doing. I would think customer satisfaction with products and profitability would be much more important. A company should certainly maintain customer loyalty if they expect to create a sizable product base over time. Spiking market share percentage doesn’t necessarily translate to long-term company survivability.

    1. True that. But it is also true that staying lean with profits until you have a commanding market share is a very shrewd way to establish long term dominance. Walmart and Amazon, disgusting as they are to work for, proved that market share does make up for slim margins. It also garners insanely powerful customer loyalty that fashion based, high cost brands cannot.

      This is Apple’s problem. First came the $10k gold watch, which signalled what Apple thought was its market. It bombed and Apple had to suddenly pivot, drop prices, and advertise health features of a device that is a poor exercise tracker, a wildly inaccurate heart rate monitor, and useless as a sleep tracker since every night it’s on a charger. The only things the watch does better than another smartwatch is Apple Pay. If your favorite store accepts it and you can’t carry your iPhone, that is.

      1. Apparently you don’t own one, or have taken time to study it. Owning one does help you see more of them out there. Apple hit three watch markets to start with to see where their strengths were. The gold one did bomb and they got out of the market. They found out where the market would be and concentrated on that. The first line was a real world market study. The best thing the watch does is a lot of little things that make life easier. Being able to see if a text or call is important enough to pull out phone right then is a time saver, a few minutes add up quickly. You can also do quick text response, that a lot of times is all that’s needed. In your house you don’t need to keep your phone next to you all the time. The timer is great, a lot easier to use than the phone. I am not that into fitness, however it has gotten me more interested and I am more aware of my health. When people write about the “killer” app or thing it should do is willful ignorance at best. Even just being able to quickly change the band for the situation you will be in can be fun. I love how other people boast about their watch having a standard band and all the ones they can choose from. Yea change it three minutes. Fitness trackers are one trick ponys, most can’t tell time, or the display is a joke. The only reason anyone one would compare them is to deliberately skew the Apple Watch down. Of course this is done all the time with other Apple products.

        1. I don’t see the attraction. If on a planet of 7 billion people, a few million decide to jump on the latest fad, I would not call that a spectacular must-have product.

          Your iPhone manages, displays, and executes tasks far better than your watch ever will. Hurray for you if your time is so precious that the 1/4 of a second it takes to access your phone is critical to your lifestyle. The seconds don’t add up to anything significant for most people, unless one is so rude as to break off face-to-face communication in order to prioritize his digital pseudo-friends.

          The smartwatch is an accessory. Most people I see wearing it are using it as a status symbol, definitely more of a fashion item than anything else. If you need to pay Apple premium prices to feel good about your fashion status, you might want to seek professional help. The fitness trackers that are cheap and actually do focus on doing one thing well are more attractive to those people who actually engage in serious physical training.

          And while Android in no doubt less secure, the whole argument of adding more electronic devices yo your life is self-defeating. One more security risk, one more thing to charge, one more operating system to dink around with, one more way to expose the shortcomings of Apple’s half-assed Handoff and Continuity initiatives.

          If you like it, fine, enjoy it. But stop telling everyone that the Apple Watch is a must-have device that makes life easier. It just isn’t.

          1. From reading your comment, I would guess you do not own an Apple Watch. I can only speak for myself. I purchased the Series 1 and enjoyed it from the first day. It saves more than enough time and supplies more than enough convenience to make it, 42mm Sport, well worth the purchase price. I couldn’t wait for the Series 2 to be released. I passed my Series 1 down to my doubtful wife for her to try. She wasn’t excited about it, but after a month of using it, she loves it. The devices are not perfect and never will be, but for myself, no others come close.

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