Slowing Apple Watch sales? Apparently, it ain’t so

Apple shipped 2.8 million Apple Watches in Q3, thanks to the release of the new Series 1 and Series 2 models late in the quarter, according to Canalys. Despite reports to the contrary, the research group shows that shipments compared favorably to those in the third quarter (Q3) of 2015, the first full quarter after the original Apple Watch’s launch in April 2015. Total smart watch shipments exceeded 6.1 million for the quarter, an annual increase of 60%.

“While the new models are selling well, there are still unsold first-generation Apple Watches in the channel,” Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte. “Q4 performance will be key to better assessing the long-term prospects of the improved Watch models. Apple needs to make a strong marketing push during the holiday shopping season, especially to highlight new and compelling apps for its platform.”

Meanwhile, its renewed focus on fitness functionality puts it in more direct competition with Fitbit. The inclusion of GPS by Apple and many other vendors now poses a big threat to traditional GPS watches and fitness trackers, Matte adds.

“The iPhone’s slowing momentum has affected consumer interest in Apple’s smart watch and the company needs to improve Watch sales in major markets outside of the US, especially China,” says Canalys Analyst Jason Low.