Despite a late arrival to the wearables market, Apple claimed the top spot in terms of device sales, according to new research from Juniper out this week, which stated that the Apple Watch accounted for over 50 percent of smartwatch sales in 2015.
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Android Wear earned less than 10 percent of sales in 2015, the report said, even though the software now powers watches made by a number of companies, including Huawei, Motorola, Sony, ASUS, LG, Fossil, and others.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S2 didn’t achieve strong sales since its November launch, despite being well received, the report also said.
Apple’s presence in the smartwatch market is also making it harder on its rivals to compete, as evidenced this week by Fitbit’s crashing stock, indicating investors’ lack of confidence in the device manufacturer’s ability to take on Apple on the high-end, as well as other established smartwatch makers further down the spectrum, such as Pebble.
However, just because Apple is running away with the lead thanks to its 52 percent market share, that doesn’t mean the smartwatch market itself is anywhere near established, Juniper also warned in its report.
“The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market,” wrote Juniper research analyst James Moar. “Newer devices have offered more polished looks and subtly different functions, but no large changes in device capabilities or usage. With smartwatch functions established, it is now up to consumers to decide if they want them, rather than technology companies providing more reasons.”
In other words, the future of the market is in the hands of consumers – who may or may not feel the need for wrist-worn technology to invade their lives.
My 2 cents:
Much of the nay-saying that has been surrounding Apple this 1st quarter can be traced to inevitable(?) comparisons between the Apple Watch and iPhone in that the market is itching to have Apple move away from what is seen as an iPhone dependent state. The Apple Watch is no iPhone, nor is it perfect and undeniably a better product than competition has to offer BUT it still is the market leader! This just goes to show that Apple’s watch game is a long term game and that power to Cook for having Apple plunge into what was previously a promising but hazy industry and creating market demand (and then promptly seizing 50% of that demand with its pilot product).