Apple Watch Dominates Cellular-Enabled Smartwatch Market

Apple Watch Series 3 models with LTE have dominated the cellular-enabled smartwatch market since they were released last September.

Specifically, the Apple Watch accounted for an estimated 59 percent of the worldwide cellular-enabled smartwatch market in the first quarter of 2018, according to data shared by research firm Canalys today.


Canalys senior analyst Jason Low says the cellular capabilities have been key to the success of the Apple Watch Series 3 lineup:

Key to Apple's success with its latest Apple Watch Series 3 is the number of LTE-enabled watches it has been able to push into the hands of consumers. Operators welcome the additional revenue from device sales and the added subscription revenue for data on the Apple Watch, and the list of operators that sell the LTE Apple Watch worldwide is increasing each month.

Low added that Apple has taken advantage of a lack of high-end competition in the cellular-enabled smartwatch market:

While the Apple ecosystem has a strong LTE watch offering, the lack of a similar product in the Android ecosystem is glaring. If Google decides to pursue the opportunity with a rumored Pixel Watch, it would jump-start much needed competition in this space.

There are a handful of Wear OS smartwatches with LTE available, such as the LG Watch Sport, LG Watch Urbane, and Huawei Watch 2, but third-party app support and software updates are lackluster compared to the Apple Watch.

Canalys estimates that Apple Watch shipments totaled 3.8 million units in the quarter, including non-cellular models, making it the world's most popular wearable, even though several other competitors in the top five sell a wide range of comparatively inexpensive fitness trackers and activity bands.


Chinese company Xiaomi, for example, shipped an estimated 3.7 million wearables in the quarter, but Canalys notes that more than 90 percent of those shipments were Mi Bands, priced as low as $20 to $25 in the United States.

Apple Watch pricing starts at $249 for Series 1 models, while Series 3 models with LTE retail for $399 and up, in the United States.

Apple doesn't break out Apple Watch sales as it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the watch under its "Other Products" category, alongside the Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod, HomePod, and accessories. Canalys and other research firms look for clues in Apple's earnings reports to estimate shipments.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did vaguely reveal that Apple Watch revenue reached a new record in the first quarter of 2018:

Apple Watch had another great quarter with revenue growing by strong double-digits year-over-year to a new March quarter record. Millions of customers are using Apple Watch to help them stay active, healthy, and connected, and they have made it a top-selling watch in the world.

Apple Watches have grown so popular that, in the final three months of 2017, worldwide shipments outpaced all Swiss watch brands combined for the first time, according to IDC senior research director Francisco Jeronimo.‏

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Tag: Canalys
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
27 months ago

My watch is LTE, but I don't use that feature. I got it because the SS version does not have a non LTE version. The monthly fee they charge here in the US is too ridiculous.

Apple Watch LTE will still work for emergency calls without a phone plan. Nice bonus.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago

I hope Apple removes the stupid red dot when they redesign this autumn. I'm finally ready to upgrade my Series 0!

A lot of people want something that allows others to know what they have. There's a reason people pay big money for the emblems on their cars.

Here are some stickers if you really hate it.
https://www.amazon.com/CoverCrown-Digital-Premium-Cellular-Aluminum/dp/B076DKTR1K
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
I hope Apple removes the stupid red dot when they redesign this autumn. I'm finally ready to upgrade my Series 0!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
To be fair, there are few other players. Most people asked to name cellular enabled smartwatches will struggle to name more than just the Apple Watch.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
My watch is LTE, but I don't use that feature. I got it because the SS version does not have a non LTE version. The monthly fee they charge here in the US is too ridiculous.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago

To be fair, there are few other players. Most people asked to name cellular enabled smartwatches will struggle to name more than just the Apple Watch.

that was my first reaction.. "wait.. there are other guys out there making cellular enabled wearables?" There really aren't a lot. I think MOST of us are more than content with having it an extension of our smartphone when we're out, and WiFi enabled when we have access.

Also in confusion. How does this article get any of the values it claims to have? "We don't know the breakdown of Apple's device sales since Apple won't give us a breakdown, but we believe Apple's Cell based is the best selling cell based watch!"

it's literally pulling a claim out of it's rear-end. I don't doubt the claim as nobody seems to be playing in the Cell enabled watch space except for one or two players... But the claim's logic is dubious.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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