Apple Trailed Samsung in Holiday Quarter With an Estimated 68.4M iPhones Shipped

Apple was the number two smartphone vendor in the world during the 2018 holiday quarter with an estimated 68.4 million iPhones shipped, according to new data shared today by IDC.

IDC's new iPhone shipment estimates come one day after Apple's Q1 2019 earnings call, which corresponds to the fourth calendar quarter of 2018. Apple no longer provides unit sales of iPhone, iPad, and Mac, leaving it to analysts to guess just how many devices were sold.


Samsung was the number one smartphone vendor during the quarter, according to IDC, with 70.4 million smartphones shipped for 18.7 percent market share.

Apple, as the number two vendor, held 18.2 percent market share, but saw an 11 percent decline in iPhone shipments. During the holiday quarter of 2017, Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones, so if IDC's 68.4 million estimate is correct, Apple sold 8.9 million fewer iPhones.
Apple saw iPhone volumes drop 11.5% in 4Q18 marking one of the more challenging iPhone quarters in terms of growth, despite the three new models. Total iPhone volumes were down 3.2% for the full year, which is understandable considering its two largest markets (the United States and China) both experienced the worst year for smartphone performance ever. Apple is certainly not out of the game, but the likelihood of not having a 5G iPhone in 2019 means it will need to tell a strong iPhone and, more importantly, ecosystem story to succeed. If anyone can do it, it is Apple. But it certainly won't be easy when faced with all the other downward market pressures.
IDC's data suggests that Apple sold more devices than Huawei, with Huawei shipping 60.5 million smartphones during the quarter. Huawei and Apple have been fighting for the number two position, with Huawei surpassing Apple during the second calendar quarter of the year.


Huawei is the smartphone vendor that saw the most growth during the quarter, with shipments up 43.9 percent. Oppo and Xiaomi were the number four and five smartphone vendors, respectively, with 29.2 and 28.6 million smartphones shipped.

Overall, IDC says that 375.4 million smartphones were shipped during the quarter, down 4.9 percent year over year and marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decline.
"Globally the smartphone market is a mess right now," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "Outside of a handful of high-growth markets like India, Indonesia, Korea, and Vietnam, we did not see a lot of positive activity in 2018. We believe several factors are at play here, including lengthening replacement cycles, increasing penetration levels in many large markets, political and economic uncertainty, and growing consumer frustration around continuously rising price points."
IDC is more generous with its iPhone shipment estimate than Strategy Analytics. Yesterday, Strategy Analytics said that Apple shipped an estimated 65.9 million smartphones for a 15 percent decline year-over-year. Canalys, meanwhile, is more optimistic and says that Apple shipped an estimated 71.1 million smartphones for a decline of just 7.3 percent year-over-year.

With Apple no longer offering a breakdown of unit sales of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, analyst estimates from sources like IDC and Strategy Analytics won't be able to be confirmed.

Tag: IDC

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Apple’s Mac Sales Drop in Q4 2018 Amid Worldwide PC Shipment Decline

Apple's worldwide Mac shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new preliminary PC shipping estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner.

During the quarter, Apple shipped an estimated 4.9 million Macs, down from 5.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple's share of the market grew, however, from 7.1 percent in 3Q18 to 7.2 percent.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Apple continues to maintain its position as the number four PC vendor in the world, behind Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but ahead of Asus and Acer.

Lenovo was the top PC vendor with 16.6 million shipments and 24.2 percent market share, followed by HP with 15.4 million shipments and 22.4 percent market share, with Dell coming in at number three with 11 million shipments and 15.9 percent market share.

Asus trailed Apple with 4.2 million shipments and 6.1 percent market share, as did Acer with 3.9 million shipments and 5.6 percent market share.

Apple's Market Share Trend: 1Q06-4Q18 (Gartner)

Apple's dipping Mac sales followed a trend that affected many PC vendors, with overall worldwide PC shipments dropping to 68.6 million, a 4.3 percent drop from the 71.7 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Apple also saw a small decline in the number of Macs shipped in the United States. Apple shipped 1.76 million Macs during the quarter, down from 1.8 million in the year-ago quarter, for a 2.1 percent drop in growth and 12.4 percent market share (up from 12.1 percent).

Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units)

HP was the number one PC vendor in the U.S. with 4.7 million PCs shipped, followed by Dell and Lenovo. Microsoft and Acer both trailed Apple.

According to Gartner, overall worldwide PC sales were impacted by a shortage of CPUs and political and economic uncertainties in some countries, including the U.S.
"Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand," Ms. Kitagawa said. "There was even uncertainty in the U.S. -- where the overall economy has been strong -- among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season. Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs."
For all of 2018, Gartner estimates that Apple sold a total of 18 million Macs, down from close to 19 million in 2017. Apple's shipments fell five percent year-over-year, and its total market share for 2018 dropped from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2018 (Thousands of Units)

IDC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, noting a similar decline in sales for Apple. IDC also ranks Apple as the number four PC vendor in the world with global shipments that reached 4.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

IDC's data suggests Apple's Mac shipments were down 3.8 percent, with market share remaining steady. Like Gartner, IDC estimates Apple sold 18 million Macs in 2018, down from 19 million in 2017.

It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is estimated and while not usually far off from Apple's sales, not entirely accurate, either. While we've been able to check estimated data when Apple provides its quarterly earnings releases with actual Mac sales information, there will be no way to do so going forward.

Apple no longer plans to break out unit sales for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so determining the exact number of Mac sales will not be possible going forward.

Though sales were down during the holiday quarter, Apple could see some pickup in the future thanks to the October release of the new MacBook Air, a more affordable alternative to the MacBook Pro. The newly refreshed model features a Retina display, Thunderbolt 3 support, up to 16GB of RAM, a T2 chip, a new butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad, and other features.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

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Apple Shipped an Estimated 4.2 Million Apple Watches in 3Q2018, With Series 3 Making Up the Bulk of Sales

Apple shipped an estimated 4.2 million Apple Watches during the third quarter of 2018, according to new wearable device shipment data shared today by IDC.

Apple Watch shipments were up 54 percent year over year, with Apple having shipped an estimated 2.7 million devices in the third quarter of 2017. Apple's jump in shipments wasn't enough to make it the top wearable vendor, however, with that title going to Xiaomi.


Xiaomi shipped an estimated 6.9 million wearable devices during the quarter, giving the company 21.5 percent market share, while Apple came in at 13.1 percent market share. Fitbit trailed Apple in the number 3 slot with an estimated 3.5 million wearable devices shipped.

Wearable devices as measured by IDC include basic wearable devices such as simple fitness trackers along with smart watches like the Apple Watch. Overall, the wearables market reached 32 million units in 3Q18, up 21.7 percent from 3Q17. Growth was up in Asia/Pacific, but declined 0.4 percent in the U.S.


When it comes to Apple Watch shipments, IDC's numbers are estimates because Apple does not provide details on the number of Apple Watch models that it sells. Apple Watch revenue is included in Apple's "Other" category that also encompasses products like AirPods, Apple TV, HomePod, and more.

According to IDC, the Series 4 Apple Watch, which Apple released in October, accounted for less than 20 percent of all Apple Watch shipments, with customers instead going for the more affordable Apple Watch Series 3.
Apple managed to launch its Series 4 Watch, its first watch approved for medical use, towards the end of the quarter. The new design and sizes along with the latest version of Watch OS were welcome changes though the latest series only accounted for less than 20% of all Apple Watch shipments. The reduced price on the still affable Series 3 accounted for the majority of Apple's shipments during the quarter.
While Apple does not share information on Apple Watch sales, during the most recent earnings call for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018 (which corresponds to the third calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company's wearables category set a September quarter revenue record with growth over 50 percent.

Tag: IDC

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iPad Remained World’s Most Popular Tablet Last Quarter While Huawei Topped Apple in Smartphones Again

Apple continued to lead the tablet market in the third quarter of 2018, with the iPad achieving "nearly double the shipments of its nearest competitor," according to data shared by research firm IDC today.


Apple on Thursday reported sales of 9.7 million iPads last quarter, giving it an estimated 26.6 percent share of the worldwide tablet market during the July-September period, according to IDC. Samsung finished runner-up with an estimated 5.3 million tablet shipments and 14.6 percent market share.

The worldwide tablet market declined 8.6 percent during the quarter, as global shipments fell to 36.4 million, according to IDC. Apple was not immune to the market contraction, as iPad revenue declined 15 percent last quarter on a year-over-year basis, according to the company's earnings report on Thursday.

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Worldwide Shipments in Millions, via IDC

Nevertheless, IDC believes the new iPad Pro with Face ID bodes well for Apple's sales through the holiday shopping season:
The refreshed $329 iPad with Pencil support that launched in late March continued to drive volume although it was unable to maintain the same momentum from the third quarter of 2017 as that was the first time in a while that Apple had released a lower cost iPad. iPad Pro saw year-on-year declines in anticipation of a refresh at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which bodes well for Apple through the end of the year.
iPad has remained the world's most popular tablet for several years, even as the market has declined. IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani believes Apple's continued focus on innovation and marketing has helped the company set itself apart from smaller rivals such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Huawei.

Notably, Microsoft did not crack the list of the top five tablet vendors based on shipments last quarter, according to IDC's data. An all-new Surface Pro launched in October, but that was after the quarter ended.

IDC also shared smartphone data for the third quarter today. Apple reported sales of 46.9 million iPhones last quarter for an estimated 13.2 percent market share, finishing behind Samsung and Huawei, which had estimated market shares of 20.3 percent and 14.6 percent respectively last quarter.

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Worldwide Shipments in Millions, via IDC

Apple is typically the world's second largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung, but Huawei bumped it down to third for the second consecutive quarter. Nevertheless, IDC believes Apple could jump to first place next quarter thanks to anticipated holiday sales of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Like the tablet market, the worldwide smartphone market also declined to the tune of six percent last quarter, according to IDC.

Tag: IDC

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Apple’s Mac Sales Down in Q3 2018 Amid a Lack of Updates

Apple's worldwide Mac shipments were down in the third quarter of 2018, according to new preliminary PC shipping estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner.

During the quarter, Apple shipped an estimated 4.9 million Macs, compared to 5.4 million in the third quarter of 2017 for an 8.5 percent drop. Apple's market share also declined, dropping from 8 percent in 3Q17 to 7.3 percent in 3Q18.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Apple continues to be the number four PC vendor in the world, ranking below Lenovo, HP, and Dell, but above Acer and Asus. Lenovo was the number one vendor during the quarter, shipping an estimated 15.8 million PCs for 23.6 percent market share.

HP came in second with 14.6 million PCs shipped for 21.8 percent market share, while Dell was third with 10.7 million PCs shipped and 16 percent market share. Acer and Asus both shipped around 4 million Macs for 6.1 and 6 percent market share, respectively.

Apple's Market Share Trend: 1Q06-3Q18 (Gartner)

Apple's decline in Mac sales is no surprise as the company has yet to update much of its Mac lineup for 2018. The only Mac that has seen a refresh so far is the MacBook Pro, with MacBook, MacBook Air, and Mac mini updates still on the horizon for a fall launch.

Falling Mac sales come amid stagnant growth for the overall worldwide PC market. A total of 67.2 million PCs were shipped during the quarter, an 0.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017.

Apple also saw a decrease in Mac shipments in the United States during 3Q18. Apple shipped a total of 2 million Macs during the quarter, down from 2.2 million in 3Q17, for a 7.6 percent drop in growth and 13.7 percent market share.

Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q18 (Thousands of Units)

HP was the number one PC vendor in the United States, shipping 4.5 million PCs for 30.7 percent market share. Dell came in at number two with 3.8 million PCs shipped and 25.9 percent market share, while Lenovo was third with 2.3 million PCs shipped and 15.4 percent market share.

IDC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, noting a similar decline in sales for Apple. According to IDC, Apple shipped 4.8 million Macs during the quarter, down from the aforementioned 5.4 million, a decline of 11.6 percent.

In IDC's rankings, Apple falls below Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer, coming in as the number five worldwide PC vendor. IDC's data also suggests an overall worldwide PC market decline of 0.9 percent rather than the 0.1 percent growth noted by Gartner.

Apple could see its Mac shipments jump back up during the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 as there are multiple Mac updates that we're expecting towards the end of the year, perhaps as early as October.

It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically and sometimes less so. Last year, for example, Gartner said that Apple shipped 4.6 million Macs worldwide during the third quarter of 2017 when the actual number was significantly higher at 5.4 million.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

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Huawei Surpasses Apple to Become #2 Worldwide Smartphone Vendor in Q2 2018

With 54.2 million smartphones shipped in the second calendar quarter of 2018, Chinese smartphone company Huawei has surpassed Apple to become the number two worldwide smartphone vendor, according to new data shared today by IDC.

During the quarter, which includes data from April to June, Apple shipped 41.3 million iPhones worldwide, a number that it shared earlier today with its earnings release for its third fiscal quarter. In the year-ago quarter, Apple shipped 41 million iPhones, marking just a small increase in shipments this year.


According to IDC, Apple's share of the smartphone market for the quarter was 12.1 percent, compared to Huawei's 15.8 percent. Huawei saw 41 percent year-over-year growth in market share with an increase of 15.7 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2018 compared to Q2 2017.


Samsung continues to be the number one smartphone vendor with 71.5 million smartphones shipped and 20.9 percent of the market, with Xiaomi and OPPO trailing after Apple and Huawei with 31.9 and 29.4 million smartphones shipped, respectively. Canalys, Strategy Analytics, and IHS Market have also published data agreeing with IDC's assessment of the smartphone market.

In total, IDC says there were 342 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter of 2018, a 1.8 percent decline from the 348.2 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter of 2017.


While Apple's iPhone shipments were largely stagnant year-over-year, the higher average selling price it achieved with the iPhone X resulted in an impressive 20 percent increase in revenue and iPhone earnings of nearly $30 billion.

IDC's numbers look only at total number of smartphones shipped, with Huawei seeing major growth in the $600 to $800 segment thanks to the P20 and P20 Pro series.

We are likely to see shifts in these smartphone vendor rankings over the course of the next few quarters as this is Apple's weakest quarter. At this point, Apple's flagship iPhones are several months old, which always results in a slowdown in sales. After new devices are released in the fall, Apple will see much stronger shipment numbers during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2018 and first fiscal quarter of 2019.
Apple dropped to the third spot for the first time despite its second quarter growth. Apple shipped 41.3 million iPhones, representing modest growth of 0.7% over the 41.0 million units shipped last year. The iPhone continued to perform well at the high end as the iPhone X remains a top seller in many markets. Apple will look to regain control of the market this fall with the expected launch of three next generations of iPhone models. The new models are rumored to bring different screens sizes, price points, increased performance, and new features to the table when they arrive next quarter.
Rumors suggest Apple plans to better compete in the mid-priced smartphone market in late 2018 and 2019 with a lower-priced 6.1-inch feature-rich iPhone that offers Face ID, an edge-to-edge display, and the same fast processor as the company's more expensive OLED models.


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iPad Recorded Highest Market Share in First Quarter Since 2014 According to IDC

Apple on Tuesday reported that it sold 9.1 million iPads during the first quarter of 2018, giving the company its highest share of the worldwide tablet market during that quarter in four years, according to IDC.


The research firm estimates that iPads accounted for 28.8 percent of tablet shipments over the three-month period, compared to 24.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. The modest growth resulted in the iPad's highest first quarter market share since 2014, when it captured a 32.7 percent stake.

iPad's first quarter market share per IDC:
  • 2013: 40.2%
  • 2014: 32.7%
  • 2015: 26.8%
  • 2016: 25.9%
  • 2017: 24.9%
  • 2018: 28.8%
IDC said worldwide tablet shipments from all vendors combined declined 11.7 percent in the first quarter on a year-over-year basis, making the iPad's gains in sales, revenue, and market share all the more impressive.

iPad remains the world's most popular tablet, as it has been since shortly after it launched in 2010. Samsung finished runner-up in the first quarter with an estimated 5.3 million tablet shipments, down from six million in the year-ago quarter, although its market share stayed put at 16.7 percent.

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Detachable + Slate, Worldwide Shipments in Millions, via IDC

Samsung managed flat growth due to significantly lower shipments from other tablet vendors in the first quarter, according to IDC. Amazon, for instance, is estimated to have shipped just 1.1 million tablets from January through March, a 49.5 percent decline from the year-ago quarter.

However, research firm Strategy Analytics estimates Amazon shipped 2.8 million shipments in the first quarter, and it's unclear why there is such a large discrepancy between the numbers. IDC said Amazon's quarterly downturn "does not come as a surprise" given that its tablet sales are highly seasonal.

Looking ahead, the new sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad should have more of an impact in the second quarter of 2018, as the tablet launched with only four days remaining in the first quarter, amid education buying season.

In terms of what's next for the iPad, Apple is rumored to launch at least one new Pro model with slimmer bezels, no home button, and Face ID later this year. The fate of the iPad mini is less certain, but it could eventually receive a routine speed bump should it remain part of Apple's tablet lineup.


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iPhone’s Market Share Grew Slightly Last Quarter Despite a Few Weeks of Galaxy S9 Availability

Apple's share of the worldwide smartphone market grew slightly in the first three months of 2018, despite Samsung launching the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in March, according to research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics.


Apple on Tuesday reported that it sold 52.2 million iPhones last quarter. Based on that, the research firms estimate that the iPhone accounted for around 15.5 percent of smartphone shipments during the quarter, a slight increase from 14.7 percent in the year-ago period.

While the single-percentage-point growth is modest, the slight gain becomes more impressive when considering that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ launched March 16 in several countries, a full two weeks prior to the quarter ending. Pre-orders of the devices began even earlier on March 2.

Samsung shipped 78.2 million smartphones last quarter, according to the research firms, but its estimated 22.6 to 23.4 percent market share was essentially unchanged from the year-ago quarter, despite the bumped-up Galaxy S9 launch. Last year, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were released April 21.


Samsung continues to lead the smartphone market in shipments, but it sells a variety of handsets at a wide range of price points. Apple typically ships fewer iPhones, but the company captured an estimated 87 percent of smartphone profits in the December quarter, according to research firm Canaccord Genuity.

Apple doesn't disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, but given iPhone revenue increased 14 percent last quarter despite only a three percent rise in unit sales, the higher-priced iPhone X was likely a big factor.


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Mac Shipments Remain Steady in Q1 2018 Amid Continuing Worldwide PC Decline

Amid a continuing decline in worldwide PC shipments, Apple's Mac sales have remained steady in the first quarter of 2018, according to new PC shipping estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner.

Apple shipped an estimated 4.26 million Macs during the first quarter of 2018, up from 4.2 million Macs in the year-ago quarter, marking 1.5 percent growth.

Apple's market share for the quarter comes in at 6.9 percent, up from 6.7 percent in Q1 2017. Apple was ranked as the number four PC vendor worldwide during the quarter, coming in after HP, Lenovo, and Dell, and ahead of Asus and Acer. Apple was ranked the number five vendor during the same quarter last year, but this year, it surpassed Asus.

Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Most vendors saw shipments remain steady during the quarter. HP, the number one worldwide PC vendor, shipped 12.9 million PCs during the quarter for 20.8 percent market share, while Lenovo, a close competitor, shipped 12.4 million for 20 percent market share. Dell came in third with 9.9 million shipments and 16 percent market share, while Asus and Acer brought up the rear with 3.9 and 3.8 million shipments, respectively.

The overall worldwide PC market, however, declined 1.4 percent year over year. In total, there were an estimated 61.7 million PC shipments during the quarter, down from 62.6 million in the year-ago quarter and the 14th consecutive quarter of decline.

Apple saw less growth in the United States. During Q1 2018, Apple shipped an estimated 1.49 million Macs, a 0.5 percent increase from the 1.48 million Macs it shipped in the year-ago quarter. Apple was also ranked the number four PC vendor in the U.S., trailing behind Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

Gartner's Preliminary U.S. Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Dell was the top U.S. PC vendor 3.44 million shipments, while HP shipped 3.35 million machines and Lenovo shipped 1.63 million. The overall PC market in the U.S. saw a 2.9 percent decline compared to Q1 2017.

Apple's Market Share Trend: 1Q06–1Q18 (Gartner)

IDC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, and as is often the case, IDC's shipping estimates are quite a bit different from Gartner's. IDC and Gartner's data often varies due to the different ways each firm makes its shipment calculations.

The IDC numbers suggest overall worldwide PC shipments remained flat, with 60.38 million PCs shipped during Q1 2018, down just slightly from 60.39 million in the year-ago quarter.

IDC says Apple was the number five worldwide PC vendor with just 4 million Macs shipped, a 4.8 percent decline from the 4.2 million shipped in the year-ago quarter. While Gartner ranks Apple above Acer, IDC does not.

It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically and sometimes less so. Last year, for example, Gartner estimated shipments of 4.217 million Macs in Q1 2017, while the actual number was 4.199 million.

It's been several months since Apple last refreshed the bulk of its Mac lineup, with the exception of the iMac Pro, so it's not surprising to see little growth in shipments. Apple is expected to introduce refreshed MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac models at some point this year, perhaps at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

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Apple Watch Outsold All Competing Smartwatches Combined Last Year

Apple Watch continues to be the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, according to analysts.

IDC estimates Apple Watch shipments totaled eight million units worldwide last quarter, which also makes it the best selling wearable device during that period.

The research firm says one in every five wearables shipped last quarter was an Apple Watch, on the strength of new Series 3 models launched in September.

By comparison, Fitbit reported sales of 5.4 million wearables last quarter, while Xiaomi shipped 4.9 million units over that time, according to IDC. An estimated 41 percent of smartwatch shipments came from smaller vendors grouped into an Others category.


The wearables market includes several inexpensive fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Xiaomi, while the Apple Watch starts at $249 for Series 1 models, so it's really an apples to oranges comparison.

For that reason, MacRumors also reached out to IDC for data specific to smartwatches, which it defines as wearables that can run third-party apps natively.

The data shows that Apple Watch accounted for an estimated 61 percent of worldwide smartwatch shipments last quarter, with no single competitor coming anywhere close. Samsung's market share was just 8.4 percent, according to IDC, despite the quarter encompassing the lucrative holiday shopping season.


For perspective, the estimated 17.7 million Apple Watches shipped in 2017 was more than all competing smartwatches combined last year. Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, Chinese kids smartwatch maker Continental Wireless, and other vendors shipped an estimated 15.6 million smartwatches cumulatively last year.

"Consumer preferences have shifted to more sophisticated devices and towards well recognized brands," like the Apple Watch, said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC. "It's due to this that the wearables market has seen healthy double-digit growth in average selling prices since 2016."

Apple doesn't break out Apple Watch sales like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the wearable under its "Other Products" category, alongside Apple TVs, AirPods, Beats, iPods, accessories, and soon HomePods.

On an earnings call last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Apple Watch had its best quarter ever during the fourth quarter of 2017, with over 50 percent growth in revenue and units sold for the fourth quarter in a row, and strong double-digit growth in every geographic segment that Apple tracks.

Cook added that sales of Apple Watch Series 3 models were also more than twice as high as Series 2 models in the year-ago quarter.

Apple analysts, who closely examine Apple's earnings reports and other clues to estimate Apple Watch sales, have similar totals as IDC. Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies estimates Apple Watch shipments totaled 17.4 million last year, while Horace Dediu of Asymco comes in at 17.7 million.

Apple Watch shipments outpaced all Swiss watch brands combined for the first time last quarter, according to IDC's Francisco Jeronimo.‏ In other words, Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Tag: IDC
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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