Apple Watch Continues to Dominate the Market, Accounting for 50% of Q4 Shipments

Smartwatch sales are on the rise and the Apple Watch continues to dominate the market.

According to a new press release from Strategy Analytics, Apple sold a total of 9.2 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 7.8 million units in the same period of the year before. This brings the total 2018 count to no less than 22.5 million Apple Watches sold worldwide.

“Smartwatch growth is soaring, as consumers seek to accessorize their smartphones and bring digital connectivity to their wrists,” said Steven Waltzer, an industry analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Global demand for smartwatches grew considerably throughout the end of 2018, reads the report, and Apple has both a majority share and a comfortable lead over its top rivals. But the equation has shown signs of changing as second-place Samsung and third-place Fitbit continue to expand their product lines and distribution.

Apple’s market share actually dropped last year from 60.4% to 50%. This happened mostly because of the growth experience by Fitbit, which jumped from 1.7% to 12.2%, but also following the slight increase recorded by others, like Samsung.

“Apple shipped 9.2 million smartwatches worldwide in Q4 2018, rising 18 percent from 7.8 million units in Q4 2017,” says Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple’s global smartwatch market share slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago. Apple Watch is losing market share to Samsung and Fitbit, whose rival smartwatch portfolios and retail presence have improved significantly in the past year.”

Fitbit was next up in the list followed by Samsung and then Garmin as global smartwatch shipments hit an all-time high of 45 million units for the whole of 2018. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin are considered the main players in this space and account for 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped worldwide, reads the report.

Over the past year, Apple introduced a more expensive Apple Watch Series 4 and dropped the price of the Apple Watch Series 3 without setting a new low entry price for the family. By comparison, Samsung’s just-announced Galaxy Watch Active will replace its Gear Sport watches at a more aggressive $199 USD entry price, and its new Galaxy Fit activity trackers are expected to be even more affordable.