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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
31 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
31 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
31 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
31 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
31 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
31 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)

Top Stories

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Rumor Report Card: Assessing the Accuracy of Leaks After Apple's Event

Friday September 18, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
Apple hosted its virtual "Time Flies" event this week, where it introduced four new products, including the Apple Watch Series 6, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, a 10.9-inch iPad Air with an all-screen design, and an updated 10.2-inch iPad with a faster A12 Bionic chip. As expected, there were no new iPhones, which are believed to be coming in October instead. Apple also announced that it will be ...

Epic Games Announces 'Fortnite: Save the World' Will No Longer Be Playable on macOS

Friday September 18, 2020 4:50 am PDT by
Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite: Save the World" will no longer be playable on macOS, after Apple terminated Epic Games' developer account. Fortnite has been in violation of the ‌App Store‌ rules since August 13, when it introduced a direct payment option that skirted Apple's in-app purchase system by allowing payments directly to ‌Epic Games‌. Shortly after Epic blatantly...

Deals: Cellular Carriers Introduce First Offers on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

Friday September 18, 2020 7:43 am PDT by
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE today, cellular carriers have now introduced special offers for these new wearable devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with AT&T, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3, Series...