Wearable shipments fall as Apple Watch gets long in the tooth

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Ugreen's magnetic charging station for the Apple Watch.
When Apple Watch shipments fall, the industry feels it.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Wearable shipments fell for the first time ever last quarter, and it’s all thanks to declining interest in an aging Apple Watch. Smartwatch vendors shipped just 3.5 million units during Q2 2016, down from 5.1 million units over the same quarter last year.

That’s a decline of 32 percent year-over-year, according to data from IDC. Apple Watch continued to dominate after shipping 1.6 million units, but despite this, Apple was the only smartwatch maker to suffer a decline.

That’s mostly because Q2 2015 was Apple Watch’s launch quarter, and without an Apple Watch 2 at the same time this year, shipments were always going to fall. Fans are now awaiting a new model, which is rumored to be significantly thinner than the existing one.

“Apple still maintains a significant lead in the market and unfortunately a decline for Apple leads to a decline in the entire market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

Apple Watch shipments will rise again this fall, when Apple is expected to introduce that much-anticipated second-generation model. A big update to watchOS will also be made public, and that could also have a positive impact on demand for the device.

Samsung now claims second spot in the list of top five smartphone vendors, while Motorola, which is now owned by Lenovo, is the most popular Android Wear vendor — thanks to its incredibly good-looking Moto 360 series.