NPD: Apple Watch is ‘the clear leader’ in strongly growing U.S. smartwatch market

U.S. smartwatch sales experienced strong growth in the 12 months ending November 2018 compared to the same timeframe a year prior, according to The NPD Group’s new Smartwatch Total Market Report. Dollar sales of smartwatches in the U.S. were up 51 percent, totaling nearly $5 billion in sales, while unit sales saw a 61 percent increase.

While Apple is the clear market leader, the new Smartwatch Total Market Report reveals that the top three brands (Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit) made up 88 percent of smartwatch unit sales during the timeframe. However, traditional watch manufacturers, like Fossil, and fitness-focused brands, like Garmin, are working to grow their share of the market, as they continue to expand into the smartwatch category.

“Over the last 18 months smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn’t think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon,” said Weston Henderek, director, industry analyst for NPD Connected Intelligence, in a statement. “The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device including receiving notifications, messaging, accessing smart home controls, and more.”

Apple Watch Series 4 in a Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Milanese Loop (40mm and 44mm)
Apple Watch Series 4 in a
Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Milanese Loop (40mm and 44mm)

16% of U.S. adults now own a smartwatch, which is up from 12 percent in December of 2017, based on NPD’s Consumers and Wearables Report. The younger 18-34 age demographic is currently carrying the overall growth in the smartwatch market with 23 percent penetration. However, as newer health focused devices such as the Apple Watch Series 4 continue to take hold in the next year, expect to see a big boost in penetration among older segments. Beyond health and fitness tracking, evolving use cases will help bolster the segment. For example, 15 percent of smartwatch owners now claim to use their devices to control home automation devices.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: You have to be a real glutton for punishment to choose a non-Apple Watch stupidwatch.

“Let’s see, I could have a brand new BMW M5 or a Chevy Spark for right around the same price*. Hmm… Such a difficult choice. Duh, I’ll take the Spark!”

We pity the masochistic bastages who strap those POS Apple Watch wannabes, also-rans, and roadkill to their wrists, however few there may be.

*Over one year, a $500 Apple Watch costs $1.37 per day. A $250 watch costs $0.69 per day. That’s a difference of 68-cents per day. If you can’t afford 68-cents a day, you can’t afford a smartwatch. An Apple Watch gives you a helluva lot more features and value, including resale value, than 68-cents a day.

Gartner: Worldwide wearable sales to grow 26% next year; Smartwatch shipments to total 74 million units in 2019 – November 29, 2018
Apple’s line of smartwatches outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last quarter – February 12, 2018
Strategy Analytics: Apple becomes world’s no.1 wearables vendor in Q1 2017 – May 5, 2017
Apple Watch had massive holiday quarter; took nearly 80% share of total smartwatch revenue – February 10, 2017
Apple Watch dominates with 63% of worldwide smartwatch market – February 2, 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
IDC: Apple remains far and away the market leader in smartwatches – July 21, 2016
Juniper Research: Apple is world’s #1 smartwatch maker – July 23, 2015


      1. Mostly meaningless as far as Wall Street is concerned. The smartwatch market amounts to almost nothing compared to the smartphone (iPhone) market and what’s worse, an AppleWatch requires an iPhone to be of any use.

        You should realize by now that any product or service Apple offers is going to be directly compared to iPhone revenue. Analysts debate this point every single day. So far, an AppleWatch is not a ‘must have’ product and likely never will be. In the end, Apple will lose market share percentage to cheaper Android smartwatches because far more consumers have Android smartphones.

    1. Maybe not every year but 3 yrs? It’s wearable and also disposable. That’s why I do not understand gold Apple watches or those with Hermes leather band etc (close to $2,000? Insane and unreal! What are they thinking!!). Also, I suppose the watch is easier to design/make and I am sure there are many currently working to surpass Apple. This is another thing I do not understand. Why does Apple think (if they do) they conquered and owned this market? Too premature to get carried away. It’s a good product for many creative uses and the market has potential. But it would be natural to think that Apple is not the only one to cultivate this potential (although they were the first one when Jobs created the iWatch idea but left us so prematurely). Years of copycats will follow.

      1. I would not suppose the watch is easier to design. There is very little real estate to deal with so everything must be really well thought out. Everything centers around power consumption. High quality, high performance, low drain CPUs are not easy and Apple has a big lead here.

        1. Agree. That’s why the smartwatch has inherent limitations and had better to be used in conjunction with a phone. It cannot have everything that a smartphone has. That’s given. But it does not have to be, or should not be a smaller version of a smartphone, particularly because they are complementary. As far as the hardware is concerned, there already are many competitors, current and potential (Samsung is the one for example). There may be more specialized vendors not currently making smartphones. It has to maximize its advantages such as always-attached-to-the-body, very small and very mobile. Space limitation imposes many restrictions on the H/W such as the implementation of a decent camera anyway (I do not see the need for it, but just as an example). In the applications which could make them unique to the ultra-small gadget like a smartwatch, Apple did make a head start in healthcare application for example. There must be at least a few other applications suitable for an always-attached and small device. I am actually looking forward to someone, preferably Apple, to come up with various unique applications such as easier (improved) communication conveniences and more robust voice input etc., something other than the health area. Just my thoughts:-)

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