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Apple reclaims lead in wearables market

15 November 2017

According to research firm Canalys, the USA firm shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units in the third-quarter, the strongest ever for Apple.

The new device, Apple's first that connects to the internet without being tethered to a smartphone, took the US mobile giant to 3.9 million shipments in the recent Q3 2017, according to new data from Canalys. "Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers' doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers", Canalys Analyst Jason Low said. Xiaomi and Fitbit sit in second and third, with 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands respectively. Still, their performance was better than average in the sluggish Q3, according to Canalys, where business has historically been slower. The Apple Watch Series 3 was only available from the middle of September. This is a big jump from the 2.8 million units shipped past year.

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Apple has retaken the top spot from Xiaomi to become the market leader for wearables on the wrist. After the big three there is a big drop off, with Huawei a distant fourth on six per cent. Compared to their most recent flagship smartphones, sales figures correspond to approximately one smartwatch sold for every seven iPhone 7/8-series models at Apple, one smartwatch sold for every 14 flagship P and Mate smartphones for Huawei, and one smartwatch sold for every 23 flagship Galaxy smartphones for Samsung.

Traditionally, the third-quarter is seen as the weakest period for sales as potential buyers hold off until the holidays, but according to Canalys, all top vendors registered a growth in shipments. Canalys expects strong demand from Chinese customers once the issue is resolved.

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Unsurprisingly, the world's top three smartphone vendors are also those selling the most smartwatches.

"Google must show stronger commitment to help Android Wear vendors, which are now mostly watchmakers and fashion brands, to further improve the user experience and app ecosystem".

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Apple's wearable division has enjoyed something of a renaissance this year, grabbing the top spot in Q1 for overall wearables the first time since Q3 2015.

Apple reclaims lead in wearables market