Apple Watch rots as entire smartwatch market goes mouldy

Let’s hope they’re waterproof because smartwatches are going down the toilet, according to numbers released by the smart dudes over at IDC.

Everyone was slightly dubious over whether demand for smartwatches would excel beyond the early-adopting few. Rightly so, it would seem, because practically nobody wants one.

By looking at the numbers from IDC, it would be easier to pick out who’s had a shocking quarter than a vaguely positive one. The industry as a whole has shrunk a massive 51.6% on last year’s unit shipments – down from 5.6 million to 2.7 million.

To be fair that’s mainly down to Apple, which was driving the industry’s growth last year, and is generally responsible for the vast majority of sales. Apple Watch sales shrunk 71.6% from 3.9 million units in Q3 2015 down to 1.1 million in Q3 2016; as everyone realised they just aren’t bothered enough to get one.

It was always going to be a tough sell asking consumers to replace their smartphones with a watch, at the very least it’s asking users to double down – and doubling down makes a lot of functions on either device redundant. Then comes the age old question of whether the smartwatch can be used individually to the smartphone, which in the case of Apple Watch is just an absurd expectation. If the smartwatch is the smartphone’s mindless subservient gimp, then there’s only going to be limited appeal even among brand-loyal and affluent early adopters.

“… differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we’re starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

Beyond Apple Watch sales rotting away, everyone else in the industry had a stinking quarter. Only Garmin managed to significantly grow its sales – in fact it grew a whopping 324.2%! OMG – oh… wait, that’s up 324.2% from roughly 0.1 million to less than 0.6 million.

Still, it’s better than a 2.8 million decline.

Full table below, it’s grim reading.

Smartwatch market Q3 2016


  1. Avatar ctuga 25/10/2016 @ 1:41 pm

    The numbers prove clients are NOT stupid, and the main reason why smartwatchs are selling worse is because big vendors still think clients are stupid. Big companies know what to do… but they do not want to put smartwatches to compete with smartphones so they keep them dependent of the last ones… and the market is giving clear answers: WE ARE NOT STUPID, OK?
    begun to build smartwatchs REALLY independent from phones, with GPS and capable to make/receive calls, connected to fashion wireless headphones, and then you will see how market reacts…
    That’s my opinion,

  2. Avatar stephen g. tom 25/10/2016 @ 2:48 pm

    CTuga has nailed it. Building value in a full line of products is getting trickier as technology developments race forward.

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