According to research firm Canalys, the US firm shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units in the third-quarter, the strongest ever for Apple. "Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers' doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers", Low noted in a report on third quarter shipments.
China's Xiaomi, which was the No. 1 vendor in the second quarter, fell to the No. 2 spot with 3.6 million units, while Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) came in at No. 3 with 3.5 million units shipped. For Q3 2017, Apple Watch sales account for a 23% share of the global wearables market. "In fact, our entire wearables business was up 75% year over year in the fourth quarter and in fiscal 2017 already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company".
Launched in September, Apple Watch Series 3 played a major role in pushing Apple back to the top spot. And Apple charges $399 for the entry-level connected model, versus only $329 for the cheapest watch without LTE, with wireless carriers tacking on another $10 per month for connectivity. Lacking a base figure for that growth, investors remain largely in the dark regarding Watch sales and have to rely on third-party estimates.
Apple's smartwatch ads are full of feel-good stories about how the wearable changes people's lives for the better, mainly on the physical activity side of the everyday spectrum, but this next story is something else, and forced even Tim Cook to react.
At its earnings call, Apple said the Apple Watch grew 50% year-over-year in sales but continued its silence on revealing exact numbers for its wearables. In contrast, market researchers like IDC do not include wireless headphones in the wearables category unless they include other additional features, such as health/fitness tracking, integrated artificial intelligence (AI) that isn't just coming through a paired smartphone, augmented audio, or real-time translation.
At 9.53 a.m. EST, Apple shares were down 0.57% at $173.02.