Declining Apple Smartwatch Sales Hint at Problems for Wearable Tech Market - Dispatch Weekly

October 27, 2016 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Apple smartwatch sales have dropped from 3.9 million units sold in the third quarter of 2015 to just over one million units sold in the same period of 2016, according to a report by research firm International Data Corporation.

Smartwatch Sales Continue to Decline

Apple’s declining fortunes in this new market fit a broader picture of weak growth with sales falling by almost 52% from 2015.

Lenovo, makers of Motorola brand smartwatches saw sales decline by over 73%, while sales of Pebble smartwatches halved.

Is Interest Waning for the Smartwatch Market?

Declining sales has not deterred tech companies from investing in the wearable technologies market.

The IDC report showed that Apple and their competitors, including Samsung and Google, were still pushing wearable tech products that are yet to hit the market.

Declining Apple Sales

Photo Credit: Smartwatch Group 2014
Photo Credit: Smartwatch Group 2014

Apple experienced multiple consecutive quarterly falls in sales in 2016 compared to 2015, resulting in an overall reduction in profits of 14% for the company, according to an Apple 2016 financial report.

Apple misjudged the nature of the wearable technologies market by initially marketing their smartwatch as a luxury device, rather than something for a general audience. Apple’s gold-plated smartwatch for $15,000 was recently discontinued, along with the Paris flagship store that will close shortly.

Apple Focuses on Sports Smartwatches

Apple has recently focused on sports smartwatches with the the launch a new smartwatch produced in partnership with Nike, launched for October 28.

Insiders will examine sales numbers in 2017 to see whether this re-branding has been a success.

Why Have Smartwatches Failed to Capture Consumers’ Interest?

Photo Credit: Apple Smartwatches, Series 2

Functionality could be a reason as to why smartwatches have failed to capture consumers’ interest. Phones and pedometers have the same functions as a smartwatch, therefore there is no unique selling point for an Apple watch.

Wearable tech will need to invest in functions that cannot be easily replicated by phones if they are to have any chance to increasing sales.

Apple Continues to Lead Innovation in New Technologies

Despite declining sales Apple has been successful in introducing new markets where none previously existed.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will capture consumers’ interest and attention in the wearable tech market.

What is clear is that they the company known for innovation, will have to invent a new selling point as to why customers should put down their phone and start investing in a smartwatch.

Would you buy an Apple smartwatch at $349 or does your smartphone already meet your needs?

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.