The Apple Watch is still growing in popularity and dominating the competition, even while people are stuck at home

Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Apple Watch sales grew in the first quarter of 2020, even as many people around the world begun to spend more time at home toward the end of the quarter in March.
  • Apple remains the global leader with 55% of the smartwatch market in the first quarter of 2020, with Samsung placing in a distant second.
  • Apple’s wearables segment has been particularly important for the company over the past year as smartwatch sales have slowed.
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Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market, even as many people have been spending more time at home during the COVID-19 crisis and the majority of its global stores remain closed.

Apple shipped 7.6 million smartwatches worldwide in the first quarter of 2020, according to recent data from Strategy Analytics, an increase of 23% compared to 6.2 million in the first quarter of 2019. As such, Apple now claims 55% of the smartwatch market, representing a slight increase from the 54% it controlled in the same period one year ago, according to the research firm.

Samsung comes in a distant second with just 13.9% of the market, while fitness-oriented wearable tech company Garmin placed in third with 8%. Noticeably absent from the top three is Fitbit, which Google recently said it would acquire for $US2.1 billion.

Smartwatch sales continued to grow in the first quarter of 2020, says Strategy Analytics. Shipments increased by 20 per cent from 11.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 to 13.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.

“Smartwatches are selling well through online retail channels, while many consumers have been using smartwatches to monitor their health and fitness during virus lockdown,” Steven Waltzer, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics said in a press release announcing the results.

It’s worth noting, though, that many COVID-19-related restrictions weren’t implemented broadly around the world until near the very end of the first calendar quarter in March.

The numbers come after Apple’s fiscal second-quarter earnings report also indicated that its wearables division, which includes the Apple Watch and AirPods, has been performing well. Apple said its wearables segment reached a quarterly record in its fiscal second-quarter, and its wearables, services, and accessories division, which includes other products like the HomePod, grew by 24% compared with the same quarter one year ago to $US6.3 billion.

Not only is Apple leading the smartwatch market, but the success of its AirPods has also made it the top contender in the broader wearables market as of the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the International Data Corporation.

The Apple Watch’s success has been especially important for Apple over the past year as it sought to offset slowing iPhone sales. Categories like wearables and services, both of which have seen notable growth in recent quarters, have served as a bright spot in Apple’s earnings reports as iPhone sales have stalled.

Apple is expected to release a new version of the Apple Watch in the fall that will come with sleep tracking and better performance.

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