Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 12, 2016

Apple Watch Took Over Half of the Smartwatch Market in 2015

There was some doubt when rumors first surfaced that Apple was going to release its own smartwatch roughly a year after competitors like Samsung and Motorola already had functioning smart watches on store shelves. Could the company that dominates the smartphone and tablet markets do so again, despite being somewhat late to the party? After all, Apple is responsible for forming the mobile device market as it exists today.

Apparently, there was no need for doubt because new data from Juniper Research shows that the Apple Watch claimed 52 percent of global smartwatch shipments in 2015, despite being released toward the end of April. It’s likely the Apple Watch saw most of its sales activity during the holiday shopping season. After all, the smartwatch was identified as one of two hot ticket wearables in November, along with the Lumo Lift Posture and Activity Tracker.

Meanwhile, Apple’s competitors in the space haven’t fared so well. Android Wear shipments as a whole made up less than 10 percent of sales for the year. Even Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S2, which was well received upon its November launch, has yet to achieve strong sales.

According to the full report, entitled “Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2016-2020,” the problem is the continued lack of a strong use case for smartwatches. The result is that the market is being driven by lower priced devices with more basic functionality, with the Apple Watch of course being a notable exception.

Still, the smartwatch ecosystem continues to grow rapidly, with dedicated software companies supplying games and productivity apps, so maybe a strong use case will emerge in time.

“The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market,” said James Moar, author of the Juniper Research report. “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.”

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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