Apple Watch grabbed lion's share of Sept. quarter smartwatch market with 4.5M sold

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In the September quarter, Apple was the main beneficiary of a 67 percent surge in global smartwatch shipments year-over-year, delivering 4.5 million Apple Watches according to research estimates published on Friday.

The market grew to approximately 10 million units, giving Apple 45 percent of it, Strategy Analytics said. The company was up 25 percent year-over-year from an estimated 3.6 million units — it should be noted however that Apple has never released official Watch numbers, preferring to make general performance claims instead. For the most recent quarter, it said only that sales of wearables grew 50 percent, contributing to "other products" revenue of $4.2 billion.

Apple's marketshare is down from 60 percent as a result of competition from Fitbit and Samsung. Fitbit is now officially in the smartwatch market thanks to the Ionic and Versa, while Samsung has made inroads with the Galaxy Watch. Those companies shipped 1.5 and 1.1 million units in the last quarter, respectively.

Garmin is the fourth major player and saw its own progress, but has had to fend off growing competition in the fitness space. The firm shipped about 800,000 units, up from 600,000.

Apple's performance was presumably fueled by the Apple Watch Series 4, which arrived in late September. The device has a larger screen, an ECG sensor, and a faster processor, among other upgrades.