Apple continues to rule smartwatch market with almost 3 times the popularity of Samsung

Despite the fact that the Apple Watch is over a year old and faces many of the same challenges of competing brands, it continues to dominate the smartwatch market.

According to newly released information from the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple shipped 1.6 million watches in the second quarter of 2016, whereas Samsung shipped approximately 600,000 Tizen-based devices.

Apple and Samsung were followed by Android Wear watch producers Lenovo (which sells watches under the Motorola brand) and LG at 300,000 each. Bringing up the rear was Garmin, which shipped 100,000 of its fitness-focused devices.

But though Apple is still far and away the market leader, representing 47 percent of the overall pie, it has seen a serious, if expected, decline over the past year.

Last year at the same time the OEM owned 72 percent of the market, resulting in a year-over-year decline in growth of 55 percent. Of course, the comparison is an unfair one, since it corresponds to the quarter that held the initial launch of the device.

Once a new Apple device is released, IDC expects that it will mean a significant boost in numbers for the entire smartwatch market, which declined for the first time over the last year, dropping 32 percent.

“Consumers have held off on smartwatch purchases since early 2016 in anticipation of a hardware refresh, and improvements in WatchOS are not expected until later this year, effectively stalling existing Apple Watch sales,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

“Apple still maintains a significant lead in the market and unfortunately a decline for Apple leads to a decline in the entire market. Every vendor faces similar challenges related to fashion and functionality, and though we expect improvements next year, growth in the remainder of 2016 will likely be muted.”

IDC expects to see the market return to growth in 2017 driven by continued platform development, cellular connectivity, and an increasing number of applications.

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