Research released yesterday claims that the Apple Watch will ”ignite the global smartwatch market” this year. Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that Apple Inc. will sell more than 15 million Apple Watches worldwide in 2015 to claim 55 percent of the global smartwatch market share –a share that will instantly make Apple the number one smartwatch vendor for 2015.
Strategy Analytics forecasts that global smartwatch shipments will increase by more than 500 percent from the 4.6 million units shipped in 2014 to 28.1 million units in 2015. With the Apple Watch accounting for 15.4 million units, the remaining 12.7 million units forecast for 2015 will be made up by all other smartwatch manufacturers.
“The Apple Watch is the catalyst to ignite the global smartwatch market,” said Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston. “Apple’s famous brand, loyal fan base, deep retail presence and extensive apps ecosystem will ensure healthy uptake for its Watch.”
Late last week Apple announced a special “Spring Forward” event scheduled to take place on Monday and expected to focus primarily on the upcoming Apple Watch. Apple will likely share details about the wearable that have so far been the focus of a barrage of rumors, including expected retail pricing, expected battery life and accessories. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently revealed that development of the wearable is right on track and that the Apple Watch will go on sale in April.
Strategy Analytics’ forecast coincided with the last day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where a range of new smartwatches were revealed over the course of the four-day event, including the Huawei Watch, two variations of LG’s Watch Urbane and the new Pebble Time.
While its forecast for Apple Watch’s initial sales is encouraging, Strategy Analytics warns that Apple may have a fight on its hands come 2016.
“Apple’s first-generation Watch is not yet perfect,” Mawston said. “For example, Apple’s Watch hardware design is arguably less attractive than some rival models such as the Huawei Watch, battery life may not be as long as many traditional wristwatch owners are used to, and Apple’s premium pricing may be challenging for mass-market consumers. Apple will need to upgrade tangibly its second-generation Watch to stay ahead of competitors later this year.”
Earlier this month reports surfaced claiming that Apple had placed a production order of 5 million units of the Apple Watch for the first quarter of sales and CSS Insight forecast that Apple could sell as many as 20 million smartwatches in its first year.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is also optimistic about the Apple Watch’s chances, saying it [Apple Watch] will sell millions from the start.