Wireless carriers sold a third of all Apple Watches in the U.S. last quarter

Apple sold an estimated 2.9 million Apple Watches in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, according to Counterpoint Research (as noted by FierceWireless). And 975,000 units -- over a third -- were sold through the four major wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint), with Verizon leading the way. 

Counterpoint analyst Jeff Fieldhack believes that about half of Apple Watch's U.S. unit volumes were sold directly through Apple Stores. Within carrier smartwatch sales, Apple accounts for approximately 90% of all sales, he estimates.

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“Apple has changed the game with their cellular connected watch,” Fieldhack says, adding that Apple’s smartwatches accounted for up to 90% of carriers’ overall smartwatch sales. “Even today's Samsung Gear3 is polarizing because of its size and is hampered by high returns due to software and pairing issues.”

What’s more, according to Wave7 Research, smartwatch shoppers buying their gadgets from carrier retail stores are activating the cellular capabilities in Apple’s new Apple Watch Series 3. Of the 37 carrier retail store representatives who were surveyed by Wave7, 30 said that smartwatch purchasers were willing to pay for monthly cellular service for the gadgets.

Wave7’s metrics also showed that Apple dominates carriers’ smartwatch sales, with the iPhone maker’s watch accounting for around 80% of all smartwatch sales at Verizon, for example.