In a Korean publication this week they had noted that LG was the #1 OLED display manufacturer for smartwatches thanks to Apple having 40% market share. A new analytical report lists Apple's global market share for Apple Watch was close to 51% for Q4 2018, down from 67.2% in 2017. Further, Apple was shown to be down 10% for 2018 overall from 60.4% to 50.7% as presented in Strategy Analytics chart below.
The latest research from Strategy Analytics notes that global smartwatch shipments grew an impressive 56% annually to reach a record 18 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018.
While Apple Watch maintained its global smartwatch marketshare lead with 51%, the report gives you the impression that the growth came from other industry players. In reality, Apple's shipments grew from 17.7 million units in 2017 and 22 million in 2018 with Fitbit, the closest competitor shipping 5.5 million units in 2018.
The problem with reports like the one from Strategy Analytics is that it doesn't break down true smartwatches from inexpensive "fitness trackers" where Apple doesn't participate in. The bulk of Fitbit sales are in their trackers which distorts pure "smartwatch" statistics.
Noteworthy is Samsung jumping into second place in Q4, slightly overtaking Fitbit. Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, "Samsung shipped 2.4 million smartwatches worldwide and captured 13 percent global smartwatch marketshare in Q4 2018, rising strongly from 5 percent marketshare a year ago. Samsung is once again the world’s second largest smartwatch brand."
Yet Samsung also sells the Gear Fit2 Pro, a fitness tracker. Where was Samsung's growth, in trackers or in smartwatches?
Apple should either get in the tracker market to once again sharply increase their market share or analytical companies should break out fitness trackers as a single report separate from pure smartwatches.
As it stands, it appears as though Apple dropped in market share in smartwatches when in reality the rise of fitness trackers makes it appear as though Apple's market share is falling, when that's not the case. Read the full Strategy Analytical report here for more.
It should also be noted that Apple stopped reporting hardware unit sales in their financials beginning last quarter and so there's no definitive way to verify the report's Apple Watch shipment numbers.
Lastly, in case you didn't know, Apple now offers Apple Watch trade-ins like they do for iPhones.
Go to this page, and look for the segment as noted in image below and click on "Watch" and Apple will walk you through the process, even if your last watch wasn't an Apple Watch.
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