Strong Apple Watch holiday demand bumped Q4 and full-year smartwatch sales to new records

After a dreadful third calendar quarter of 2016 that saw market leader Apple plummet more than 70 percent year-on-year in shipment numbers, smartwatches surprisingly rebounded during the holiday season, beating all previous records, albeit by a trivial 1 percent.

According to the latest Strategy Analytics research, 8.2 million such fancy wearable devices were sold worldwide in Q4 2016, up from 8.1M a year earlier, crucially contributing to an overall 2016 tally of 21.1 million units, itself a new record, improving the 2015 total by 300,000 copies, or 1 percent.

Like most recent quarterly reports, this fresh one is also largely influenced by changes in Apple Watch popularity. It turns out Tim Cook was right to expect strong demand once again, with the Series 2 in particular proving an attractive holiday gift across the Western hemisphere.

Analysts were ultimately silenced by record 5.2 million Apple Watch sales this quarter, up 2 percent annually, although the yearly 11.6M score was massively down from 13.6 mil in 2015. Still, the Cupertino-based tech giant managed to capture an easily dominant Q4 2016 63.4 percent market share, also seizing 55 percent of the slowly recovering nascent industry as far as the full year was concerned.

In second place, Samsung racked up a disappointing fourth-quarter 0.8 million shipment tally, down from 1.3M, which was only enough for 9.8 percent share. Strategy Analytics casts the entire blame on the late launch of the Gear S3, not bothering with ranking the “other” smartwatch vendors due to their individual irrelevance.

Combined, Garmin, Fitbit, Huawei and all the rest barely collected 2.2 million Q4 shipments, or 26.8 percent share.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).