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Apple is the only major manufacturer losing market share in wearables

Apple Watches
AP Photo/Richard Vogel
Many are still in cases, it seems.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Despite its best efforts, Apple is still boring.

According to data released from analytics firm IDC Dec. 5, Apple’s share of the wearable market in the third quarter shrunk significantly. Apple shipped roughly 4 million smartwatches in the quarter last year, according to IDC, but could only manage to ship roughly 1 million this year—a 70% drop in shipments.

Every other manufacturer has gained market share this quarter. Samsung is now selling about as many smart devices as Apple, up 90% from the same quarter last year. Fitbit, although up slightly from the year earlier, recently forecast that it’s likely to have a much weaker holiday quarter than Wall Street had been expecting. Its stock plummeted 30% to about $8.50 on the news.

Apple launched its newest watches, the Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Nike+, partway through the third quarter, in early September, meaning that some people may have held off on buying an Apple Watch earlier in the quarter if they’d been reading the rumors that a new one was on the way. But there doesn’t seem to have been in a massive uptick in watch sales after the release, so perhaps people weren’t waiting for the new models. Regardless, Apple will be hoping people are out right now buying Watches as stocking stuffers for the approaching holiday. iPhone and Mac sales have been weak in recent quarters, and Apple posted its first yearly drop in profit and sales in over a decade in October.

Whatever Apple’s solution to return to growth might be, Apple Watch probably won’t be part of it.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Apple posted its first yearly loss in over a decade in 2016, when in fact it posted its first drop in profit and sales since 2001. 

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