Last month, a report from research firm IDC sent shock waves through the wearable devices industry. IDC claimed that the smartwatch sales plunged 52% YoY during the July-September quarter to just 2.7 million units. The research firm added that Apple Watch sales were down an eye-popping 71.6% to just 1.1 million units despite the Apple Watch Series 2 being available during the last two weeks of the reported period.

Apple Watch Series 2
Image Credit: ToomaCZ / Pixabay

Apple shipped 2.8 million Watch units in Q3

Now another research firm Canalys has revealed that smartwatch sales are actually soaring. According to Canalys, smartwatch shipments jumped 60% during the third-quarter of this year, contradicting IDC’s report. A total of 6.1 million smartwatch units were shipped during the quarter. Both Canalys and IDC define a smartwatch as a wearable device that can run third-party apps.

While IDC had said only 1.1 million Apple Watch units were shipped during the quarter, Canalys says the figure was 2.8 million. Apple’s impressive sales numbers can be attributed to the release of Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 1 in September. Canalys analyst Daniel Matte said in an interview that the Q3 Apple Watch sales number of 2.8 million units was “100% accurate.”

Apple Watch Series 2 makes up a ‘vast majority’ of Q3 shipments

In 2015, Apple shipped 12 million Watch units, which was less than what most analysts predicted, says Canalys. The research firm expects Apple to ship a total of 10 million Watches in 2016. IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani has pointed out on several occasions that smartwatches don’t have a clear purpose. Companies will have to differentiate the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone, said Ubrani.

Daniel Matte said in a statement that the Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 1 accounted for the “vast majority” of 2.8 million units shipped in the third-quarter. Canalys said Apple was the largest smartwatch vendor with a 45% market share, followed by Samsung with 18%, Fitbit with 17%, and Garmin with 3%. However, the research firm pointed out that there are still unsold original Apple Watches in the channel.

Q4 performance key to long-term prospects

Daniel Matte said the fourth-quarter performance will be key to the long-term prospects of the new Apple Watch. The Cupertino company needs to launch a strong marketing campaign during the holiday shopping season to highlight the new and compelling apps for the Apple Watch Series 2. Apple’s focus on fitness tracking has put it in direct competition with Fitbit.

The Apple Watch Series 2 features a standalone GPS, which lowers its reliance on the iPhone. It’s also waterproof enough for swimming and other water sports. It comes with an improved speaker, faster load times, and a brighter screen. The latest watchOS 3.1 update has almost doubled the battery life of Apple Watch Series 2, according to users.