Apple Watch accounts for half of record fourth quarter smartwatch shipments



The Apple Watch was still king of the smartwatch in the fourth quarter of 2018, but lost market share to Samsung and Fitbit.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Smart watches were more popular than ever with buyers at the end of last year, registering a record of global shipments, according to a new study.

Global smartwatch shipments reached a record 18 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 56% over the previous year, the researcher said Wednesday Strategy Analytics. For the whole year, global shipments reached 45 million units – a record also.

"The growth of the smart watch is booming as consumers seek to accessorise their smartphones and bring digital connectivity to their wrists," said Steven Waltzer, an industry analyst at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.

Apple has kept its smartwatch crown, despite a market share down 51% from 67% last year, the researcher Strategy Analytics said Wednesday. Apple sold 9.2 million smart watches in the fourth quarter, an 18% increase over the same quarter in 2017.

Despite the increase in its shipments, Apple has lost ground to competition, including Samsung, which exceeded expectations, FitBit and Garmin, to regain second place. Samsung's market share in the quarter was 13%, compared to 5% last year, out of 2.4 million units delivered.

Fitbit is just behind Samsung in third place, which has more than tripled its market share over the past year to capture 13% of the market. Garmin is in fourth place, with a relatively stable market share of 6%.

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