Apple Watch's Record-Breaking Quarter Was Opposite One of Fitbit's 'Largest Declines Ever'

Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 have proven to be a "magnificent success" for Apple, which recorded its "best quarter ever" in the wearables market, according to the latest data from research firm IDC.

Fourth quarter shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC)

Apple shipped an estimated 4.6 million Apple Watch units in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from an estimated 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter, according to IDC. Its share of the wearables market, which includes basic fitness trackers, was an estimated 13.6%, down slightly from 14.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Apple closed the gap with wearables market leader Fitbit, which experienced one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter. Fitbit shipped an estimated 6.5 million fitness trackers in the quarter, down from 8.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Fitbit's market share dropped from 29% to 19.2%, said IDC.

Apple has been heavily marketing the Apple Watch's fitness capabilities as of late, rather than positioning it as a fashion accessory, and this shift in focus has allowed it to grow its presence in the wearables market, according to IDC:

Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 proved to be a magnificent success for the company as it was the company's best quarter ever in the wearables market. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of GPS on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence. Apple is one of the few companies that has been able to quickly refocus its watch to gain traction in the consumer market and has also been leading the charge on introducing the smartwatch category to the commercial segment.

Xiaomi finished second, between Fitbit and Apple, as its Mi Bands are priced well below most competing wearables, allowing the Chinese company to capture 15.2% market share based on an estimated 5.2 million shipments in the quarter. Xiaomi's market share rose considerably from 9.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Samsung was the fifth largest wearables vendor in the fourth quarter with an estimated 1.9 million shipments and 5.6% market share.

IDC estimates that Apple Watch shipments totaled 10.7 million in 2016 for an estimated 10.5% market share, down from an estimated 11.6 million shipments and 14.2% market share in 2015. The annual data has the same top five rankings as the quarterly data: Fitbit, Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin, and Samsung.

Annual shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC)

It is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales. Strategy Analytics said Apple Watch shipments totaled 5.2 million last quarter, which is roughly 600,000 units higher than IDC's estimate, so there is clearly variation between datasets.

Apple does not officially disclose Apple Watch sales, instead grouping the device under its "Other Products" category in earnings results.

Apple only elected to share that the Apple Watch set all time sales records during the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, with CEO Tim Cook noting holiday demand was "so strong" that Apple "couldn't make enough."

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Tags: IDC, Fitbit
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
48 months ago
I'm certainly loving mine -- one of my most satisfying Apple purchases in years, maybe ever.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago

Just wait until people realize that these watches last 3 years, not 50 years like other watches

Yep, and those 50 year old watches do what they did 50 years ago.

Tell time.

If you want your watch to do more than than time related things, the 3 year watch is your new paradigm.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago

Just wait until people realize that these watches last 3 years, not 50 years like other watches

Well, many of those other watches do cost more than the AW. Considering I get more utility from the AW than a standard branded watch, the AW provides better value for me.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago
Yes, I stopped my FitBit HR this year when I got my Apple Watch Series 1. Love it!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago
Fitbit can't do nearly as much as the Apple Watch. So this makes sense.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago

Once again, you're comparing apples to oranges. A Fitbit is not a smart watch.

I'm sorry but when I got my Apple Watch my Fitbit usage went to ZERO
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...