Time for a change: Could Amazon challenge Apple in the smartwatch sector?

Apple shipped two-thirds of all smartwatches in 2015, according to estimates by analyst Canalys, but could its dominance be challenged by Amazon?

Apple accounted for over 12 million units of smartwatches last year, with Samsung returning to second place in Q4, due to the improved design of the Gear S2.

Pebble came third and Huawei came fourth, establishing itself as the leading Android Wear vendor. Basic bands exceeded 37 million shipments for the year, with Fitbit setting a quarterly shipments record as it comfortably led the category. Xiaomi held second place, shipping 12 million Mi Bands during 2015.

Techno Buffalo makes a strong case for Amazon launching its own smartwatch, and if such a device were to launch, it could arguably emerge as the main threat to the Apple Watch.

With products and services such as Amazon Prime, as well as its own Fire tablet and smartphone (as well as ambitions in the smart home space), Amazon would be well-prepared to launch its own smartwatch.

But in the meantime, it’s Apple that’s in the driving seat.

“Cashing in on holiday sales, Apple managed to rack up over five million shipments in the fourth quarter,” said Canalys analyst Jason Low.

"Strong holiday shipments for Fitbit, Apple and Garmin drove growth of over 60 per cent sequentially for all wearable bands. Across the entire wearable bands segment, Fitbit led all vendors in Q4, followed by Apple and Xiaomi."

“Software increasingly belongs on the wrist, and this is the direction the market is going,” added analyst Daniel Matte. “As the next step along this path, the Fitbit Blaze is the right product for the company to develop. It is competitively priced and is still being squarely focused on fitness.”

Wearable band shipment data is taken from Canalys’ Wearable Technology Analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates.

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