Apple Watch plummets but is still leading smartwatch pack

Apple Watch shipments have declined 72 per cent year-on-year, according to new data from IDC.

The vendor only shipped 1.1 million Watches in the third quarter of 2016, down drastically from 3.9 million shipped in the same window of the previous year. Despite this, Apple still has a lead over its competitors, making it the number one producer of smartwatches.

Ramon Llamas, research manager of IDC’s wearables and mobile phones team, said Apple’s smartwatch shipments failed to match last year’s figures: “The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning. 

“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, ageing devices to satisfy customers."

Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, explained the challenge vendors faced marketing smartwatches to a wider consumer-base: “It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone. Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount. Hence, many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity.

“However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key. We’re starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration which is rising, as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices."

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