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 8
Tag: Canalys
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

thisisnotmyname Avatar
68 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)
44267547 Avatar
68 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
68 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
68 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
68 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
68 months ago
“These are not the failures you’re looking for”
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...