Apple Watch Is Dominating the Global Smartwatch Market

September 21, 2016, 6:28 PM UTC

Apple is the dominant force in smartwatches, according to new data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

During the three-month period ended July, Apple Watch owned 33.5% of the U.S. smartwatch market, the research firm said on Tuesday. Across Europe’s biggest four markets—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—Apple’s smartwatch market share stood at 31.8%.

“In the three months ending July 2016, 47% of wearable sales in the U.S. occurred in the smartwatch category, versus the more basic fitness bands,” cited Lauren Guenveur, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, in a statement. “Apple continues to dominate this segment.”

What Apple (AAPL) is actually dominating, however, isn’t necessarily a big market.

Kantar said that just 4.7% of Americans and 3.2% of those living in Europe’s four biggest markets currently own a smartwatch. In the broader wearables market where smartwatches live, 15.2% of Americans and 8.1% of those living in Europe’s four major markets own such a wearable. And there are no signs of widespread adoption coming anytime soon.

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“Looking ahead, 9.3% of the U.S.-based non-owners we surveyed said they intend to purchase a wearable in the next 12 months, which came in slightly below the 11.3% figure from Great Britain,” Guenveur said.

The Kantar study follows a similar report earlier this month from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which found that the broader wearables market is growing modestly worldwide. IDC’s data, however, found that Apple’s wearables market share stood at just 7% in the second quarter, down from 20.3% market share in the same period last year. IDC added that customers seemed increasingly interested in fitness bands and other “basic wearables” rather than their more expensive smartwatch alternatives.

While Apple hasn’t announced its Apple Watch sales, saying that doing so could in some way help its competitors, the company has continued to argue that demand is high for the wearable it unveiled last year. Earlier this month, the tech giant again talked of Apple Watch’s appeal at a press event in San Francisco earlier this month when it unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2. The new Apple Watch has a similar design to its predecessor, but adds a more powerful processor and built-in GPS for location tracking. The Apple Watch Series 2 is also waterproof and can be worn while swimming.

According to Kantar, the refresh might have hit all the right marks for customers. The research firm said in its statement that a device’s cost is a “concern among potential buyers.” Apple’s decision to reduce the price on the first-generation Apple Watch to $269 this month, therefore, might have been a good one. Kantar’s Guenveur added that customers are also on the lookout for GPS and waterproofing.

“September 7th’s unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 2 showed Apple addressing the key considerations cited by those planning to buy, including GPS, one of the most-desired functionalities, and waterproofing, the most-desired feature,” Guenveur said.

In other words, if customers are interested in buying a new smartwatch this fall, Apple likely made the right moves in the Series 2 to attract them.

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