Apple Watch Leads in Rapidly Growing Smartwatch Market, Report Says
Apple Watch is the "clear market leader" in the burgeoning U.S. smartwatch market, according to a new report from consumer research firm The NPD Group.
Market data shows U.S. smartwatch sales showed strong growth in the 12 months ending November 2018 when compared to the same timeframe a year ago. Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit made up 88 percent of smartwatch unit sales in that time.
The report found dollar sales of the devices were up 51 percent, amounting to nearly $5 billion in sales, while unit sales experienced a 61 percent increase, indicating an impressive acceleration in demand for the wearables.
"Over the last 18 months smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn't think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon," said Weston Henderek, director, industry analyst for NPD Connected Intelligence. "The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device including receiving notifications, messaging, accessing smart home controls, and more."
According to the report, 16 percent of U.S. adults now own a smartwatch, which is up from 12 percent in December of 2017. Interest from the younger 18-34 age demographic is said to be responsible for the overall growth in the smartwatch market, but NPD analysts expect Apple Watch will continue to entice older consumers thanks to health features like Fall Detection and ECG and greater control over home automation.
Apple doesn't break out Apple Watch unit sales from its overall earnings. However in its recent earnings call for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, CEO Tim Cook said the company's wearables revenue was being driven by the "amazing popularity" of Apple Watch and AirPods, and that the category alone was "approaching the size of a Fortune 200 company."