Apple Retakes Top Spot in Global Wearables Market

Apple has retaken the lead in the global wearable band market thanks to strong Apple Watch shipments in the third quarter of this year, according to new research data from Canalys. According to the data, Apple shipped 3.9 million units in Q3 2017, compared to 2.8 million the year previous.

Those figures gave the tech giant 23 percent of the market, placing it marginally ahead of the 21 percent recorded for Xiaomi, which briefly held the number 1 spot for the first time the previous quarter. Canalys estimates that the new Apple Watch Series 3 LTE accounted for only 800,000 shipments because of constrained supplies.

Slide1 0

"Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers' doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers," said Canalys Analyst Jason Low. Despite strong shipments, the Apple Watch Series 3 did not reach its full potential in Q3. It suffered limited availability as demand outstripped supply in major markets. Service providers had underestimated demand for the new Apple Watch.

According to Low, customers in China have so far been driven away by service disruption, therefore operators need to not only bring in more stock, but also work on their service coverage to cater for expected higher demand in the fourth quarter.

Xiaomi and Fitbit, which shipped 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands respectively, also appear to have bucked the trend of a traditionally weaker Q3 by posting quarter-on-quarter growth. However, despite increased smartwatch shipments, Canalys estimates waning demand for basic bands meant the overall wearable band market fell 2 percent, totaling 17.3 million units. 

All indications point towards a comeback for the Apple Watch this year, thanks to Apple's wearable division promoting a "tetherless" experience and putting particular emphasis on the device's health features – factors that CEO Tim Cook was eager to highlight in his recent earnings call.

"The ability to go for a run with just your Apple Watch, or go for a quick errand without your phone, while staying connected, is a game changer," said Cook. "Now more than ever, Apple Watch is the ultimate device for healthy life, and is already making a big difference in our customers' lives.

Apple's entire wearables business was up 75 percent year over year in the fourth quarter, according to Cook. In fiscal 2017, it had already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company.

If supplies are able to meet demand, Apple could be looking at a bumper holiday season for Apple Watch, while the device's continued maturation could be further underlined by its medical potential, such as in the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch heart study. The study will use data from Apple Watch to see if it's possible to identify irregular heart rhythms and notify users when unusual patterns are detected. Indeed, the smartwatch may already be able to accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea in users, according to a study published on Monday.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Tag: Canalys
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

thisisnotmyname Avatar
42 months ago

I am sure Apple could brand a toaster and it would become the number one selling toaster of all time.

It would be a wonderful toaster with simple but beautiful industrial design - no buttons or levers, just a slot that automatically senses the bread and depresses and gestures to set the darkness level (automatically synced to your other toasters via iCloud). Available either in a clean bright white or a sleek black. It would cost significantly more than competing toasters but would offer complete harmony between heating element and Apple bread (available exclusively through the Apple Bakery App). Status of your toast would follow you seamlessly between all your other Apple devices (iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV) and unlike competing toasters from Google there would be no advertisements burned into the surface of your bread. One day the FBI would demand access to your toasting history and Apple would even go to court defending the privacy of your breakfast habits. Yes, it would be the greatest selling toaster of all time.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
42 months ago
Series 3 was huge for the Apple Watch this year with LTE. It puts the Apple Watch on another sector away from the iPhone from being tethered. And add in the capabilities of GPS, 50 m water resistance, faster dual core processor, the Watch has matured a lot since its inception in April of 2015.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
naturalstar Avatar
42 months ago
Happy to read this news. I was more excited for the Apple Watch than any other device during the keynote. I was waiting for LTE capability and finally purchased my first Watch with the Series 3. I absolutely love this device, wear it every day, and hopefully will have a story to share with Apple in the future. Can’t wait to see what future iterations bring.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
twolf2919 Avatar
42 months ago
Correction: "According to the data, Apple shipped..." should read "According to the ESTIMATES, Apple shipped...". This gets done all the time: reporters, wanting to lend more credence/import to what they're writing, change a word here and there. Screw the fact that what they end up writing is now inaccurate.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Iconoclysm Avatar
42 months ago

I am sure Apple could brand a toaster and it would become the number one selling toaster of all time.

And I'm sure that if Apple decided to make a toaster, it would deserve to be the number one selling.
[doublepost=1510661886][/doublepost]

Unrelated to Apple but it's nice to see Xiaomi doing so well. To offer such great hardware for the price they is amazing.

Funny, I see it as Xiaomi can offer that price because it has so far been able to avoid law suits in China.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
42 months ago
“These are not the failures you’re looking for”
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...