Apple Watch Had Record Year With Estimated 18M Shipments in 2017, Topped Entire Swiss Watch Industry Last Quarter
Not only did the Apple Watch just have its best quarter ever in terms of sales, but it also had a record-breaking year overall, capped off by topping shipments from the entire Swiss watch industry combined last quarter.
Apple Watch shipments topped an all-time high of 18 million units in 2017, according to estimated data from research firm Canalys, an over 50 percent increase compared to the roughly 12 million units Apple shipped in 2016.
Canalys claims that 48 percent of the shipments were the latest Apple Watch Series 3 models, while 52 percent were Series 2 or older models. Among the Series 3 models, around 13 percent of customers opted for an LTE-enabled model, while 35 percent of people were satisfied with the Wi-Fi and GPS version.
The keyword is estimated, since Apple doesn't actually reveal Apple Watch sales on a standalone basis. Instead, the device is grouped under Apple's expanding "Other Products" category, alongside the Apple TV, Apple Watch, accessories like AirPods and Beats, and as of next quarter, the HomePod.
Apple analysts, who closely examine the "Other Products" revenue and other clues to estimate Apple Watch sales, each have similar totals. Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies estimates Apple Watch shipments totaled 17.4 million last year, while Horace Dediu of Asymco comes in at 17.7 million.
Canalys estimates Apple Watch shipments at 18 million in 2017. My estimate has been 17.7 million. — Horace Dediu (@asymco) February 6, 2018
On an earnings call last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Apple Watch had its best quarter ever during the final three months of 2017, with over 50 percent growth in revenue and units sold for the fourth quarter in a row, and strong double-digit growth in every geographic segment that Apple tracks.
Cook added that sales of Apple Watch Series 3 models were also more than twice as high as Series 2 models in the year-ago quarter.
Interestingly, it appears that this growth has resulted in Apple Watch shipments coming in higher than all Swiss watch brands combined for the first time last quarter, according to IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo. In other words, Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world.
For the first time, #Apple shipped more Apple Watches in 4Q2017, than the entire Swiss Watch Industry shipped watches! Apple is the biggest watch maker in the world #AppleWatch pic.twitter.com/G6M6TJ7uO2 — Francisco Jeronimo (@fjeronimo) February 4, 2018
The key takeaway here is that the Apple Watch continues to grow at an impressive rate as the device approaches its third anniversary in April. Apple Watch also remains the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, and is now even giving the iconic Swiss watch industry a run for its money.