After a rough launch, the Apple Watch is officially in growth mode, as Canalys reports today that sales of the wearable exceeded 18 million units in 2017 — a jump of over 54 percent from 2016. The latest version of Apple’s increasingly popular wearable shipped over 9 million units during the holiday quarter, which Canalys notes is “the highest ever number of shipments in a single quarter, not just for Apple, but for any wearable vendor.”
What fueled the sales growth was the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 3, released in September across a variety of cellular and non-cellular models. Canalys notes that the cellular version “was in strong demand in the U.S., Japan, and Australia, where all major operators stocked it in time for the holiday season,” and is the fastest-selling LTE wearable in the market, having shipped 1.6 million units. However, limited carrier support in Europe stifled sales there, while adding carriers in Singapore and Hong Kong will help this quarter.
“Apple has won the wearables game,” claimed Canalys senior analyst Jason Low. “Despite innovative designs, such as the rotating bezels and circular screens employed by other vendors, Apple has pulled far ahead as it continues to focus on its core iPhone user base. Its recent updates to the Series 3, such as GymKit and Apple Heart Study, are proving to offer compelling use cases, encouraging users to spend more on accessories.”
While Apple generally does not provide sales figures for devices other than the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, the Apple Watch is included in the company’s growing “other products” category, enabling analysts to offer estimates of its performance. Canalys’s estimates have been cited as accurate by Apple CEO Tim Cook as recently as last week.