Today in “news everyone could see coming” — nobody is buying smartwatches. According to new data from IDC, total smartwatch shipments have fallen more than 50% year-over-year, from 5.6 million units in Q3 2015 to just 2.7 million units this past quarter.
Naturally, the Apple Watch has been affected by that, too. Though it’s still leading the market by a good margin, its shipments dropped a whopping 71.6% year-over-year.
As this chart from Statista shows, the dip continues a rapid downturn that Apple’s other major product launches haven’t experienced. Though the figures are mixed from IDC and Strategy Analytics, you get the idea: While it took the iPhone and iPad nine and three years, respectively, to see their first declines, the Apple Watch lost its momentum beyond early adopters within one.
Now, some caveats. For one, smartwatches have always been a victim of hype. People are generally content with their smartphones and tablets today, and the iPhone and iPad populated those device categories. The Apple Watch is fine compared to other smartwatches, but it faces the same existential crisis as all of its peers, which is that most people don’t need a second computer on their person. (Yet.)
What lots of people do want on their person, though, is a fitness tracker. Apple appears to have realised this with the Apple Watch Series 2, which only just released, and puts a much greater emphasis on fighting Fitbit more than Pebble. Time will tell if that pivot is enough to keep smartwatches from descending further.
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