Apple beats Samsung to take 75 per cent of global smartwatch market in second quarter

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015, 9:55am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015, 4:05pm

The Apple Watch seized 75 per cent of the fast-growing global market for smartwatches in the second quarter of 2015, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Global smartwatch shipments in the three months to June jumped 457 per cent to a record 5.3 million units, up from 1 million a year ago, driven by the estimated 4 million Apple Watches shipped worldwide during that period.

“We expect 2015 to be the year of Apple Watch,” Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics, told the South China Morning Post.

“The Apple Watch has strong momentum that no Chinese or Swiss [smartwatch] companies can match right now.”

That has put the nascent smartwatch industry on track to ship a forecast 28 million units this year, compared with 4.6 million last year.

“Apple Watch has clearly raised the bar for the global smartwatch industry,” Mawston said.

Apple does not release sales information on the Apple Watch, but that has not stopped various analysts from making their own estimates based on supply chain figures and other data.

Strategy Analytics predicted Apple Watch shipments to reach 15.4 million units this year to lead the industry.

In a briefing with analysts on Tuesday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the company’s decision not to disclose shipments of the Apple Watch “was a matter of not giving our competition insight”.

Cook, however, offered some insight based on Apple’s data for its fiscal quarter ended June 27: “The Apple Watch sell-through was higher than the comparable launch periods of the original iPhone or the original iPad. And we were able to do that with having only 680 points of sale.”

The Apple Watch is currently available in 19 markets worldwide, with three more countries to be added at the end of this month.

There are now 8,500 apps for the Apple Watch. Apple expects to boost that number as software developers create new apps based on the device’s updated operating system, watchOS 2.

Rajeev Nair, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said Samsung Electronics shipped about 400,000 smartwatches in the second quarter to capture an 8 per cent global market share.

“Apple and Samsung together account for 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped globally,” Nair said.

“However, Samsung is a long way behind Apple and it will need to launch multiple new smartwatch models and apps across dozens of countries if it wants to reduce Apple’s global smartwatch leadership in the coming months.”

San Francisco-based Wristly, an independent research platform for the Apple Watch, released a report on Tuesday that showed customer satisfaction as a major selling point for the device.

In a survey of 800 Apple Watch users last week, Wristly found 66 per cent are “very satisfied/ delighted” by the device and 31 per cent as “somewhat” satisfied.

While so-called iPhone loyalists were generally acknowledged to have been early adopters of the Apple Watch, the Wristly report found that mainstream users have become the most avid users of the device.

According to Wristly, 73 per cent of those polled who self-described as "non tech users" were the among the most satisfied users of the Apple Watch. That compared favourably against 63 per cent for the tech insiders and only 43 per cent for the app builders.