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Apple Watch Predicted to Capture 50% Market Share in 2016 on 14 Million Sales

While the Apple Watch captured an impressive 75.5 percent share of the smartwatch market through its launch quarter last year, market research firm IDC predicts that watchOS will gradually cede market share to competing platforms such as Android Wear, Tizen, and Pebble OS over the next four to five years.

Apple-Watch-trio
IDC forecasts that the Apple Watch software will capture 49.4 percent market share in 2016, but that figure is expected to drop to 37.6 percent in 2020. IDC expects global shipments of 237.1 million wearable devices in 2020, up from an estimated 110 million in 2016, as the wearable market continues to grow.

The decline in market share will not be indicative of fewer Apple Watch sales, as sales of the wrist-worn device are projected to rise from an estimated 14 million units in 2016 to 31 million in 2020. Comparatively, Apple sold an estimated 11.5 million watches over the final 8 months of 2015, based on combined IDC and Strategy Analytics data.

IDC-apple-watch-2016-to-2020
Instead, the wearable market is expected to become a more competitive landscape. IDC forecasts that Android Wear will remain the second most popular smartwatch platform, with an estimated 6.1 million sales and 21.4 percent market share in 2016 rising to 28.8 million sales and 35 percent market share by 2020.

IDC believes that Chinese smartwatches using real-time operating systems (RTOS) will trail in third place in the smartwatch market with 10.1 percent market share by 2020. Tizen, Android, Linux, and Pebble OS round off the list with estimated 6.6 percent, 5.2 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.7 percent market shares by 2020.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tags: IDC, Android Wear
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

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7 months ago
A market to watch.
Rating: 15 Votes
7 months ago

And yet every time I read a story about the watch, people call it a flop and say Tim should either resign for it or discontinue the product. Amazing. :rolleyes:

I think some people have unrealistic expectations and expect sales to immediately reach iPhone levels.
Rating: 13 Votes
7 months ago

It IS a flop in Apple standards, regarding Apples undenibale ambitions this being the next big thing after iPod, iPhone and iPad. The curse of an unparalleled success story in the last 15 years.

However, even this is not true. Even by Apple standards the Apple Watch is not a flop, matching or exceeding previous 1st generation products FROM APPLE. The myth about the Apple Watch "flop" is so prevalent on MacRumors even those who think they are defending the Apple Watch (or pretend to be) repeat it.

Apple bashers on this forum used to decry the Steve Jobs "Reality Distortion Field." It is safe to say Steve Jobs was not the only personality capable of distorting reality. The MacRumors forum membership has collectively achieved an equally powerful distortion of reality.
Rating: 12 Votes
7 months ago
Congrats to Apple, but now we do need a WatchOS 3.0 that delivers:
- A LOT of watch faces and adaptability
- a gui that does make sense
- more SIRI actions with the Apple Watch (dictating notes, etc.)
- rating music
- displaying html mails
- speed!
- buttons that can be assigned (or at least buttons that do make sense due to frequent usage ("friends" does not do it and Apple Pay is not available in my country as it isn't in 97% of the countries world-wide...)
Rating: 11 Votes
7 months ago
And yet every time I read a story about the watch, people call it a flop and say Tim should either resign for it or discontinue the product. Amazing. :rolleyes:
Rating: 10 Votes
7 months ago
I think the Apple Watch is the first smart watch that has just enough of all the bits you need to make a good smart watch. It has a cool look, quite customisable with good and growing software support.

When I look at the other smart watches I see only one of these characteristics. They either look nice and don't do much (Android Watches) or they have a nice user interface, good software but no long term developer support (Tizen Samsung watch) or they have a long battery life but don't look very appealing (Pebble Time).

And of course there are fitness bands which are trying to come at the wearable from a different angle and most of those either don't look nice or don't do much.

Now having said that, I don't think the current Apple Watch (which I own by the way) is ready for the mainstream. I think it's still very much an early adopters device. It needs to be faster and it needs to be more consistent in performing the small number of tasks it has been designed for.

I think perhaps by the 3rd iteration it'll be something I could recommend to other people. Right now I say to people who ask, only get it if you're going to use the fitness stuff because beyond that it doesn't do much well and you'll find yourself reaching for your iPhone to use Siri and its other features just due to how slow and inconsistent the watch is right now, one example of that is even now notifications are still inconsistent on mine. Restores, reboots etc nothing fixes it. Sometimes you'll get notifications consistently for a few days on the Watch and other times they'll go 50/50 to the iPhone so it's not really bug free yet either in my usage and I have owned two so far.

Overall I do like mine a lot, I'm a runner and the fitness stuff is great and the other features are enjoyable to use when they work consistently, I'm sure Watch OS 2.2 and Watch OS 3 will further refine the experience, there is no doubt in my mind that it will become the de-facto standard by which other smart watches are judged if it hasn't already.
Rating: 8 Votes
7 months ago

It IS a flop in Apple standards, regarding Apples undenibale ambitions this being the next big thing after the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The curse of an unparalleled success story in the last 15 years.


Only to the standards YOU hold them to. None of us have any idea what kinda of sales numbers they were expecting.
Rating: 8 Votes
7 months ago
Weren't these the same clowns (IDC) that predicted Windows would be taking a 25% share of the mobile market right now?
Rating: 6 Votes
7 months ago

And by iPhone levels - they mean latter day levels. The original iPhone had impressive numbers for back then - but by no means was it an overnight sensation.


Yes, but you have to understand the iPhone's place in the market relative to the watch. The iPhone was a brand new untried product competing for a foothold in the massive cell phone market, and it was radical and untried technology compared to the reigning technology -- the Blackberry. Since then, Apple has earned a name for itself with the general public and slowly eroded the traditional phone market with its superior technology which the competition has copied and sold for less.

But the watch is totally different. There were already smart watches on the market, some as nice as Apple's. Apple has raised the bar on style, and drawn more attention to the product category as a whole, but not necessarily introduced any new radical technology that puts it in a different category than the competition like the iPhone did. The main thing it did was bring superior interface to the iPhone, that none of the existing smartwatches could compete with. So anyone who ever looked at a smartwatch and passed, already ruled out what it could do for them. But the Watch works exclusively with the iPhone, and opens up the door for a second look. Now, there's about 400 million active iPhone's worldwide. Which means in about a year, Apple has sold an Watch to less than ~4% of the clearly defined captive target market. So, while 12 to 15 million sales for any other company would be an excellent start, for Apple, it seriously underrepresents the potential market.

And here's the rub -- anyone who ever thought about a smart watch who owns an iPhone, presumably has a had a year to look at the Watch, and decided to opt in, or out. So now, Apple has to attract customers who never thought about looking at a smart watch, and again from a very specific, well defined, and active audience -- existing iPhone users. Considering Apple's reputation, and massive marketing rollout for the watch, I'd say that anyone who was seriously considering an Watch has had a year to decide whether they were interested or not. And you've got a massive ~96% of all iPhone users who voted no. So for Apple that's a pretty big loss. Now, yes it takes time to build up interest in a new device, but for one that has a pretty well defined and targeted market, those are pretty underwhelming numbers.

That's what makes next week's event particularly disappointing if they don't introduce a new watch. Again, this is just my observation, but I'd say anybody interested in buying a Gen 1 Watch has already decided they will or won't and most of the 1st gen purchases have likely been made. Yes there will be more, but I"m hard pressed to imagine that there will even be similar numbers to the launch year over another 12 months. But a 2nd get watch with new features, or styling would get those who passed the first time to take another look. Again, compared to the iPhone, even it released a substantial upgrade every year (even if only a processor upgrade and enhanced software features), which continued to bring more attention to the platform. Call me a pessimist, but if all Apple offers are new watch bands, as rumored, I don't really see that changing anybody's mind who already passed on the watch.
Rating: 5 Votes
7 months ago

And yet every time I read a story about the watch, people call it a flop and say Tim should either resign for it or discontinue the product. Amazing. :rolleyes:


It IS a flop in Apple standards, regarding Apples undenibale ambitions this being the next big thing after the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The curse of an unparalleled success story in the last 15 years.
Rating: 5 Votes

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