The authoritative market research company IDC says smartwatch sales dropped 51.6 percent last quarter from the year previous, although it suggests that the results are distorted by Apple’s vast success last year.
In 3Q15, when the Apple Watch was generally available for the first time, Apple sold 3.9 million units, IDC said, accounting for 70.2 percent of the market. This year, it sold 1.1 million, for 41.3 percent of the market.
As a whole, the smartwatch industry sold 2.7 million units in 3Q16, compared to 5.6 million last year. Do the math, and you’ll find that nearly all of that decline comes from Apple’s 2.8 million unit year-to-year decline. Other than Apple, the industry as a whole was flat.
Except for Garmin. Garmin sold 100,000 smartwatches last year, for 2.3 percent of the market. This year, it sold 600,000, for 20.5 percent of the smartwatch market. Its strategy of focusing on the athletics market and its deep understanding how to segment it appears to be paying off nicely.
Samsung’s sales were flat (and therefore gained share of a shrinking market by standing still). Lenovo (Motorola) and Pebble’s sales were down 73 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
(IDC defines a “smartwatch” as one that runs 3rd party applications. Fitbits don’t, so they fall into the “basic” category.”)
IDC analysts suggest that the fourth quarter of this year may be better, driven by the Apple Watch Series 2 and the yet-to-ship Samsung Gear 3. However, they note that there are no new major Android Wear watches coming this year and Google delayed the Wear 2.0 operating system until 2017.
Here’s IDC’s market share chart. If it doesn’t appear right away, refresh your screen.