The Apple Watch is the “clear market leader” in the rapidly expanding U.S. smartwatch market, says a new report from The NPD Group.
While Apple is the clear market leader, the new Smartwatch Total Market Report reveals that the top three brands (Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit) made up 88 percent of smartwatch unit sales during the timeframe. However, traditional watch manufacturers, like Fossil, and fitness-focused brands, like Garmin, are working to grow their share of the market, as they continue to expand into the smartwatch category.
The consumer research firm notes U.S. smartwatch sales increased 61% in the 122 months ending November 2018. Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit made up 88% of smartwatch unit sales during the period.
Dollar sales of the devices were up 51% during the period covered in the report, good for nearly $5 billion in sales.
“Over the last 18 months smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn’t think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon,” said Weston Henderek, director, industry analyst for NPD Connected Intelligence. “The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device including receiving notifications, messaging, accessing smart home controls, and more.”
16% of U.S. adults now own a smartwatch, up from 12% in December 2017. The 18-34 age demographic is leading the charge in the market, with 23% penetration. However, health focused features on wearables like the Apple Watch are expected to lead to a big boost in penetration among older users. Factors outside of health features, home automation is also contributing to the gain, as 15% of smartwatch owners say they use their wearable to control home automation devices.
The Smartwatch Total Market Report combines NPD’s Retailer Tracking Service point-of-sale data from the Luxury, Sports, and Tech practices, Checkout E-commerce data, and estimated sales to achieve a total market view.