Apple Watch sales in free fall according to report, but Tim Cook says otherwise

Apple Watch sales are reportedly in a slump, with the company selling only 1.1 million units in the third quarter of 2016, which is 2.8 million fewer units compared to the same quarter last year.

According to IDC's new Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker statistics, this phenomenon caused Apple to record a significant drop in its share of the wearables market, from 17.5% in 2015, to just 4.9%, equating to a -71% YoY (year-over-year) growth. Expounding on this, the report says that this is due to the late launch of the second-generation Apple Watch. However, IDC sees a shift towards simpler wearables, which might have contributed towards the decline of the Watch, claiming that:

"The primary reasons for the downturn were an aging lineup and an unintuitive user interface. Though both issues have been addressed with the latest generation watches, Apple's success will likely be muted as the smartwatch category continues to be challenged."

Indeed, as IDC's data shows, 85% of the wearables shipped currently consist of fitness devices. Fitbit is leading the charge, with 5.3 million units sold in the current quarter, followed by Xiaomi.

"It's still early days, but we're already seeing a notable shift in the market," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst at IDC. "Where smartwatches were once expected to take the lead, basic wearables now reign supreme. Simplicity is a driving factor and this is well reflected in the top vendor list as four out of five offer a simple, dedicated fitness device."

IDC evaluates that app-running smartwatches like the Apple Watch will continue to struggle, against cheaper fitness trackers.

In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook refuted IDC's data, and said:

"Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year. Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch."

However, Cook himself did not produce any sales figures for the Apple Watch.

Even with the alleged decline, Apple still reigns supreme over the smartwatches category with a commanding 41.3%, besting Garmin, Samsung, Lenovo, and Pebble, among other brands.

Source: Apple Insider, Reuters via The Register | Apple Watches on display via Shutterstock

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