Apple Watch Outsold All Competing Smartwatches Combined Last Year
Apple Watch continues to be the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, according to analysts.
IDC estimates Apple Watch shipments totaled eight million units worldwide last quarter, which also makes it the best selling wearable device during that period.
The research firm says one in every five wearables shipped last quarter was an Apple Watch, on the strength of new Series 3 models launched in September.
By comparison, Fitbit reported sales of 5.4 million wearables last quarter, while Xiaomi shipped 4.9 million units over that time, according to IDC. An estimated 41 percent of smartwatch shipments came from smaller vendors grouped into an Others category.
The wearables market includes several inexpensive fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Xiaomi, while the Apple Watch starts at $249 for Series 1 models, so it's really an apples to oranges comparison.
For that reason, MacRumors also reached out to IDC for data specific to smartwatches, which it defines as wearables that can run third-party apps natively.
The data shows that Apple Watch accounted for an estimated 61 percent of worldwide smartwatch shipments last quarter, with no single competitor coming anywhere close. Samsung's market share was just 8.4 percent, according to IDC, despite the quarter encompassing the lucrative holiday shopping season.
For perspective, the estimated 17.7 million Apple Watches shipped in 2017 was more than all competing smartwatches combined last year. Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, Chinese kids smartwatch maker Continental Wireless, and other vendors shipped an estimated 15.6 million smartwatches cumulatively last year.
"Consumer preferences have shifted to more sophisticated devices and towards well recognized brands," like the Apple Watch, said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC. "It's due to this that the wearables market has seen healthy double-digit growth in average selling prices since 2016."
Apple doesn't break out Apple Watch sales like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the wearable under its "Other Products" category, alongside Apple TVs, AirPods, Beats, iPods, accessories, and soon HomePods.
On an earnings call last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Apple Watch had its best quarter ever during the fourth quarter 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.
Apple analysts, who closely examine Apple's earnings reports and other clues to estimate Apple Watch sales, have similar totals as IDC. 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.
Apple Watch shipments outpaced all Swiss watch brands combined for the first time last quarter, according to IDC's Francisco Jeronimo. In other words, Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world.