Apple might be slowing down, but the Smartwatch market is booming

Smartwatch shipments have risen 60 per cent year-on-year, new research has revealed.

Analyst firm Canalys has found that shipments of smartwatch devices rose reached 6.1 million shipments between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016. The Apple Watch is the top seller with 46 per cent of shipments. Samsung (18 per cent), Fitbit (17 per cent), Garmin (three per cent) and Pebble (two per cent) make up the other companies in the top five. 

The biggest area of curiosity here is the stark contrast between this report and that of rival analyst IDC that was released last month. IDC claimed that shipments plummeted by 50 per cent over this same period, falling year-on-year from 5.6 million to 2.7 million.

IDC agreed that Apple dominated the market – with a 41 per cent share as opposed to Canalys’ 46. Interestingly, IDC has Garmin as being in second place with a 21 per cent market share while Canalys believes the company only has a three per cent share.

The conclusions drawn by the two analysts are also contrasting as well. 

IDC used its data to state that smartwatches "are not for everyone", but Canalys say it’s too early to tell and will hold off on making a judgement until the next quarter. This is because it believes that the holiday season and the impact of the second-generation Apple Watch will be two indicators as to the current health and immediate future of the market.

Canalys analyst Daniel Matte said: "Fourth quarter performance will be key to better assessing the long-term prospects of the improved Watch models."

“The iPhone’s slowing momentum has affected consumer interest in Apple’s smart watch and the company needs to improve Watch sales in major markets outside of the US, especially China," said Canalys’ Jason Low.

The analyst also pointed out that China’s market grew 42 per cent year-on-year, in spite of delays to Google’s Android Wear 2.0 platform and Samsung’s Gear S3. Lower cost options such as those from Xiaomi parthner Huami, are seen as important in growing the Chinese market.

The same report states that basic fitness band shipments grew 17 per cent quarter-on-quarter, hitting 11.5 million. 

“Together with smart watches, total wearable band shipments reached 17.6 million, signifying healthy year-on-year growth of 31 percent for the overall wearables market," the firm said. 

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