Strategy Analytics: Apple sold 5.2 million smartwatches in the fourth quarter

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments grew 1% annually to hit a record 8.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016. Apple Watch drove growth and dominated with 63% global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung maintained second position.

The fourth quarter marked a return to growth for the smartwatch industry after two consecutive quarters of declining volumes. Smartwatch growth is recovering slightly due to new product launches from giant Apple and stronger seasonal demand in major developed markets like the US and UK, according to Strategy Analytics. Global smartwatch shipments grew annually from 20.8 million in full-year 2015 to a record 21.1 million in 2016, adds the research group.

“We estimate Apple shipped a record 5.2 million smartwatches worldwide and captured a dominant 63% marketshare in Q4 2016, rising a steady 2% annually from 5.1 million units in Q4 2015,” says Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics Demand for Apple’s new Watch Series 2 as a holiday-season gift in Western markets was surprisingly strong and it enabled Apple to clear a large backlog of smartwatch inventory during the quarter. ”

Strategy Analytics estimates Samsung shipped 0.8 million smartwatches worldwide in Q4 2016, dipping 38% annually from 1.3 million units in Q4 2015.