Apple shipped 4.1 million Apple Watches in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to an estimate from International Data Corporation.
That’s way lower than most people were guessing.
Because Apple doesn’t release sales numbers for the Apple Watch, IDC estimates are the best look at how the smartwatch is doing in the market. (Even Apple executives use IDC statistics.)
Since the Apple Watch came out in April, here’s how many Apple has shipped, according to IDC:
There’s no way to look at the Q4 numbers and say they’re not disappointing from Apple’s perspective. The holiday quarter is Apple’s biggest, as people around the world look to give iPhones and Macs as Christmas presents.
This suggests that few people gave or received Apple Watches this holiday season, even as major retailers discounted the product by as much as $100.
For example, Apple sold 26.25 million more iPhones in the fourth quarter than the third — good for a 55% increase sequentially, according to Apple figures. Apple Watch sales only increased 5% over the same time span, according to IDC’s estimate.
Fitbit also saw a much bigger holiday jump than the Apple. According to the IDC numbers, Fitbit sold 8.1 million fitness trackers in the fourth quarter — a 72% increase over the third quarter.
Sure, Apple’s smartwatch is still by far the best-selling in the market, easily outselling all models running Google’s rival Android Wear software combined, and to be fair, the product hasn’t even been out for a full year. Still, these sales numbers indicate it’s not a runaway hit.
I asked Jitesh Ubrani, one of the authors of the IDC study, why Apple Watch shipments seem to be on the low side.
“For a brand new player, Apple has already made a splash,” Ubrani told Business Insider. “They’re in the top five. That being said, it is lower than what people expected, because people expected their numbers to be a little higher. We have them at about 11.6 million, for the whole year, and a lot of people were initially estimating 15-20 million, during the early-on days. Obviously they haven’t lived up to that.”
“Some of that can be attributed to early-on supply chain issues, but I think most of it is attributed to people just not seeing the value in the smartwatch just yet,” he continued. “Apple’s not the only one to blame there yet, all smartwatches haven’t lived up to people’s expectations yet. The price has been very high on these things, and function-wise, they don’t offer a lot of new functionality when it compares to the smartphone.”
Here’s IDC’s full chart of wearables shipments in the most recent quarter:
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