The smartwatch field is still crowded, but Apple remains all alone at the top. According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, Apple’s Watch platform still makes up a majority 50% of the market, with 22.5 million devices shipped in 2018. Considering that Samsung continues to pour money into their platform and that Fitbit and Garmin have been able to capture solid niche audiences, it is impressive that Apple can still command over half of the market.
While Apple’s overall market share has slipped over the last two years, their sales continue to rise. Their 22.5 million watches sold in 2018 was up from 17.7 the year before. Apple also saw year over year growth in the fourth quarter, growing from 7.8 million Watches shipped in 2017 to 9.2 in 2018. Not bad at all for a product that was labeled as a flop shortly after release.
The news isn’t all bad for the competition. While Samsung is still a long way behind Apple, they are still growing their market share, as well. However, it was the smaller Fitbit, which also solidified its position in the marketplace last year, that took second place with 5.5 million watches shipped in 2018. Garmin also made a solid showing, but that’s pretty much it.
In fact, the news is pretty bleak for any smartwatch manufacturer not named Apple, Samsung, Fitbit or Garmin. According to Strategy Analytics, these companies accounted for 8 out of every 10 smartwatches sold. Considering that Samsung uses its own Tizen OS for its watches, this definitely paints Google and its WearOS platform as the definitive losers of 2018. There’s just no way around that by these numbers.
For Apple, the key is going to be innovating on their popular Watch platform to keep their sales growing in the coming years. It won’t be easy for them to continue to hold such a dominant position in the market, but if they can continue to add popular health and wellness features, add new capabilities to watchOS and continue to improve the hardware over time, then the sales should keep rolling in.