Canalys gives more optimistic view on smartwatch shipments

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If there’s one thing analyst companies like to do, it’s disagree with each other. Gartner and IDC recently had slightly different paths over the future role of the CIO – and now Canalys is disagreeing with IDC over wearable shipments.

According to a note issued at the end of last week, Canalys argued that Apple shipped 2.8 million smartwatches in the third quarter, making a specific point that shipments compared favourably “despite reports to the contrary.” Like IDC, Canalys argues that Apple remains the market leader, but Canalys puts Samsung and Fitbit in the silver and bronze medals respectively, compared to IDC who put Garmin in second place.

Canalys put total smartwatch shipments at more than 6.1 million for the quarter – an annual increase of 60% on its figures – compared to IDC’s findings of a more than 50% decline. Yet both firms agree there will be a greater push for Q4 as the holiday spend kicks in.

“Apple needs to make a strong marketing push during the holiday shopping season, especially to highlight new and compelling apps for its platform,” said Canalys analyst Daniel Matte. “Meanwhile, its renewed focus on fitness functionality puts it in more direct competition with Fitbit. The inclusion of GPS by Apple and many other vendors now poses a big threat to traditional GPS watches and fitness trackers.”

It’s certainly a bit more optimistic than IDC’s analysis, which argued that smartwatches “are not for everyone” and that “having a clear purpose and use case is paramount.” Yet there were some criticisms from Canalys. Fitbit was decried for its “inadequate marketing and softness in consumer demand”, while Lenovo and LG all dropped off the pace due to a “lack of product refreshes.”

You can see the full Canalys note here.

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