Apple Shipped 9.2M Apple Watches in Q4 2018, Capturing Half the Smart Watch Market

A self-congratulatory post.

Not to pat myself on the back too much here, but we were pretty close on this one. A fancy market report was released on Wednesday, and some analysts estimate that Apple shipped 9.2 million Apple Watch units worldwide in the last quarter of 2018, up 18 percent from 7.8 million units year-over-year. Whole year shipments totaled 22.5 million units, enough for Apple to claim a 50 percent stake in the smart watch market on an annualized basis.

I had a little fun with Apple Watch guesstimating a couple weeks ago, when a report claimed that smart watch sales were up 51% year-over-year. I wondered how much Apple Watch units were sold, writing (full post here):

I wondered about the total sales of the Apple Watch when the company released the Series 4 last year and I asked “What Even Is a Watch?” Apple had bragged a year prior that it was already the world’s largest watch brand by revenue, outselling Rolex. Estimates put Rolex’s revenue at $4.7 billion in 2016, so most likely north of $5 billion by now. $5 billion of Apple Watch sales at its customary $400 price point would put unit sales at 12.5 million per year. This is based off of a claim Tim Cook made at a 2017 Apple event, and based on NPD’s report, smart watch sales have grown 51% since then. Assuming the Apple Watch is growing in line with the rest of the industry (it’s likely growing even faster), this would put total Apple Watch units sold in 2018 at 18.75 million units. Because of the assumptions made, this is likely a conservative estimate (e.g. I’m assuming Apple just beat Rolex’s sales. For all we know, it could’ve blown them out of the water).

So yea, smart watches are a big deal. But mostly, the Apple Watch is a big deal.

I admitted I was being pretty conservative in my assumptions, so it’s not surprising that this market report has a higher number that my estimate.

So, as I said a couple weeks ago, Apple Watch is a big deal.