Apple still won’t release the sales figures for its Apple Watch, a decision that has some wondering if the wearable device might be the company’s first major misstep.
But if a new report is to be believed, the Apple Watch is not only a success, but it’s doing better than any other smartwatch on the market — at least in terms of market presence.
A report released by Juniper Research on Tuesday claims that Apple shipped 51.5% of the smartwatches in all markets around the world in 2015. The study estimates that roughly 17.1 million smartwatches were sold worldwide, which would put Apple Watch devices shipped at about 8.8 million shipped. That number tracks with a number we saw back in November, when Canalys claimed that around 7 million Apple Watches had shipped.
However, the wording of the introduction to the report, which states “Apple Watch claims over 50% of 2015 market” is what should be noted here. While the title of the report indicates that the Apple Watch is in the lead, the report itself revealed that the 51.5% only refers to devices shipped, a number that doesn’t necessary correlate to how many Apple Watch devices consumers purchased last year.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment with regard to this latest research paper.
Alternatively, the report also claims that Android Wear-powered devices made up just 10% of the smartwatch shipments in 2015.
It’s also important to note that the report doesn’t include wearables like the FitBit. For its purposes, Juniper Research defines a smartwatch as a “wrist-based wearable that emulates traditional watch form factors, as well as providing additional digital functionality.”
Another important assertion made in the research paper is that, currently, the market is friendlier toward cheaper and simpler wrist-mounted devices that only offer notifications and tracking as opposed to full-fledged mobile operating systems boasting a range of apps (like the Apple Watch).
The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market,” said James Moar, the research analyst at Juniper who led the study. “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.”
Without hard sales numbers from Apple, and barebones products like the Fitbit continuing to do well, despite the arrival of the Apple Watch, it appears this latest research is on the mark. Smartwatches continue to be incredibly interesting as a new category, but users are still waiting for that “need to have” use case that will make one of the smartwatches out there an undisputed sales hit.