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We’re all curious about how many Apple Watches Apple has sold, but with the company opting not to break out its Apple Watch sales numbers, all we have to go on are analyst guesses, information distilled from third-party sources, and tidbits of data that Apple has provided.
The latest data that hints at how the Apple Watch has fared comes from The Wall Street Journal, citing shipment information provided by analyst Mark Li from Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) most recent earnings call. ASE is the company that builds the S1 package housing the many chips and sensors used in the Apple Watch.
An ASE subsidiary reportedly failed to meet its „break-even volume“ of two million units shipped per month during the second quarter and does not believe it will meet that target in the third quarter, either. The company’s failure to meet this target suggests the Apple Watch „is not selling nearly as well as some analysts expected,“ says The Wall Street Journal.
„The shortfall of Apple Watch is a disappointment,“ Mr. Li wrote in a note to clients. „We came in with a low expectation but below break-even still surprised us.“
In an interview, Mr. Li said it is unusual for a company like ASE not to reach break-even volume during a typically busy period like the third quarter, especially when dealing with a new product.
He said that he now expects ASE to fall short of his forecast of shipping 18 million units this year, peaking in June.
Ahead of Apple’s recent earnings call, analyst estimates of Apple Watch sales during its first quarter of availability ranged from 2.85 million to 5.7 million, averaging out to 4.07 million. After the call, many analysts adjusted their estimates, with the consensus largely changing to between 2.2 and 3 million units sold. Estimates continue to vary, however, with Strategy Analytics suggesting Apple sold 4 million units in a recent report.
During the call Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch sales „exceeded [Apple’s] expectations,“ despite supply continuing to trail demand at the end of the quarter. „We feel really great about how we did,“ he said. Apple CFO Luca Maestri hinted current revenue from the Apple Watch was „well over“ $952 million, but he also did not provide insight into sales.
In the past, Tim Cook has warned against attempting to infer information from single data points from the company’s supply chain due to its complexity.
The latest data from research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the Apple Watch captured 75.5% global smartwatch market share during its launch quarter, trailed by Samsung’s estimated 7.5% market share.
Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple sold 4 million Apple Watches in the second quarter of 2015, while runner-up Samsung sold an estimated 400,000 smartwatches during the three-month period ending June 30.
Many analysts have adjusted their Apple Watch sales estimates following the company’s earnings report on Tuesday, with the consensus now ranging between 2.2 million and 3 million units sold, so Strategy Analytics’s 4 million estimate seems overly high. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Apple Watch has become the best-selling smartwatch since its release.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “We estimate Apple Watch shipped 4.0 million units and captured a dominant 75 percent smartwatch marketshare worldwide in Q2 2015. Apple Watch launched in sixteen major countries and saw decent take-up from iPhone loyalists in the United States and elsewhere. Apple Watch has clearly raised the bar for the global smartwatch industry. The ball is now in the court of rivals, like Samsung, to respond.”
The launch of the Apple Watch helped the overall smartwatch market grow an estimated 457% annually to reach a record 5.3 million units in the second quarter of 2015. Strategy Analytics reports that smartwatch shipments were higher in this quarter than throughout all of 2014, when Samsung led the market and an estimated 4.6 million smartwatches were shipped globally.
Samsung held a commanding 73.6% global market share in the smartwatch market in the year-ago quarter, but the South Korean electronics maker now trails the Apple Watch by a significant margin. Apple Watch is currently available in the United States and eighteen other countries, and the wrist-worn device is set to launch in New Zealand, Russia and Turkey on July 31.
Apple and Samsung together accounted for 8 in 10 smartwatches sold, similar to the two-horse race between the rival tech companies in the smartphone market. Strategy Analytics estimates that other manufacturers shipped a combined 900,000 smartwatches during the second quarter of 2015 for 17% market share, down from 26.4% market share in the year-ago quarter despite selling 600,000 more smartwatches.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Watch sales „exceeded expectations“ during the company’s third quarter earnings report on Tuesday, but stopped short of providing any specific sales figures. Cook’s only comment was that Apple Watch sales during its first nine weeks of availability were higher than sales of the original iPad and iPhone when those devices first became available for sale.
The latest numbers from Strategy Analytics reveal that Samsung surpassed Apple to reclaim its position as the world’s largest smartphone maker in the first quarter of 2015. The two smartphone vendors were previously tied in the fourth quarter of 2014 after Apple matched Samsung with 74.5 million smartphones shipped on the strength of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and busy holiday shopping season.
Samsung recaptured the number one position with 83.2 million smartphones shipped in the first quarter, while Apple trailed in second with 61.2 million smartphones shipped during the three-month period ending March. Lenovo-Motorola finished a distant third with 18.8 million smartphones shipped, followed by Huawei at 17.3 million and 164.5 million smartphones shipped by other vendors.
Despite its first place finish, Samsung’s global share of the smartphone market dropped to 24.1% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 31.2% in the year-ago quarter. Apple’s global smartphone market share grew marginally to 17.7% in Q1 2015 compared to 15.3% in Q1 2014. The global smartphone market experienced 21% year-over-year growth overall, from 285 million units in Q1 2014 to 345 million in Q1 2015.
While it was impressive that Apple was able to tie Samsung during the fourth quarter, based on the popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it was highly probable that Samsung would eventually reclaim its title as number one again. The electronics giant’s smartphone lineup is much larger than the iPhone lineup, with at least a half-dozen current-generation devices available compared to only a handful of iPhones.