According to a new report from NDP, released on Tuesday (12 February), the US smartwatch market grew dramatically in 2018 and the Apple watch remained the undisputed market leader in the category. The report covers a 12-month period that ran through November 2018 and shows that total unit sales of smartwatches jumped 61% YoY, with corresponding dollar sales rising as well (+51% YoY over the same period) and equating to c. $5bn in sales. Although NDP identifies Apple as the “clear market leader,” the data show that sales of devices manufactured by Samsung and Fitbit are also outpacing the rest of the industry. The top-three smartwatch manufacturers together account for c. 88% of the total.
In the US, 16% of adults now own a smartwatch vs 12% in December 2017 and with a 23% ownership rate, NDP credits the 18-to 34-year-old demographic with pushing overall growth. However, the NDP does note that, for example, heart health features like those included in the latest Apple Watch Series 4 “could significantly boost smartwatch popularity in the older demographic in 2019.” Smart homes were also popular for smartwatch users, with 15% of watch owners saying they use their devices to control their home automated devices.
NPD Connected Intelligence director, Weston Henderek noted that over the past 18 months, “ … smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn’t think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon,”.
While Apple does not break out its Apple Watch sales, during the most recent 1Q19 investor conference call, the firm said that revenue from its wearables, home and accessories segment (previously known as Other products), reached $7.3bn – up 33% YoY and accounting for 9% of revenue. Apple CEO Tim Cook also commented recently on the wearable sector’s explosive growth over the past few quarters, saying the category’s revenue is already more than 50% above iPod’s all-time high.