Smartwatch shipments during the third quarter of 2016 dropped by 51.6 percent down to 2.7 million versus last year's 5.6 million. Despite the decline, Apple has managed to remain the number one smartwatch seller with the release of the Apple Watch Series 2 and the price cut of the Series 1.
The new data on smartwatch shipment volumes was reported by International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC’s press release listed the top five smartwatch vendors as of Q3 2016, and they are Apple, Garmin, Samsung, Lenovo (Motorola) and Pebble. Apple only managed to take the top spot when it released the Watch Series 2 during the last two weeks of the third quarter. The tech giant has a 41.3 percent market share for the third quarter of 2016.
“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” IDC’s Wearables team research manager Ramon Llamas said. “Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays.”
With the delay of Android Wear 2.0, this has left vendors to keep selling older smartwatch models, and this may have affected shipments. For example, Samsung is still selling the Gear S2 when it already announced the Gear S3 back in September. Nevertheless, Samsung’s total smartwatch sales during Q3 2016 is still higher from last year.
Garmin managed to take the number two spot by releasing more Connect IQ smartwatches, launching the fenix Chronos premium smartwatch and by focusing primarily on providing health-tracking features. This allowed Garmin to overtake Samsung while closing in on Apple with a year-over-year growth of 324 percent with a Q3 2016 market share of 20.5 percent.
Although Lenovo took the number four spot this past quarter with its Motorola branded smartwatches, it suffered the largest year-over-year decline in smartwatch shipments. IDC pointed out that the company is still selling the first- and second-generation Moto 360, while supplies for the Moto 360 Sport are scarce. This also marks the first time that Lenovo/Motorola didn’t release a new smartwatch just in time for the holiday season.
Lastly, Pebble launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year and released the third-generation (yes, it’s the third) Pebble 2 during the latter part of the third quarter. This helped the startup in securing the number five spot with a Q3 2016 market share of 3.2 percent.
One of the reasons why there is a sharp decline in smartwatch shipments is because consumers are not really that enthusiastic about the technology. The high number of shipments before might probably have been due to early adopters and consumers are now seeing what the smartwatch market is really like, as pointed out by Engadget.