Lower price is most popular Apple Watch feature

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Series 3 price
The 40mm Series 4 Apple Watch compared to the 42mm Series 3 Apple Watch.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple continues to put more of its smartwatches on the wrists of customers thanks largely these days to a reduced price on its Series 3 model.

Apple sold more than 4 million Apple Watches in the third quarter, a 54 percent increase in year-over-year growth.

The Series 4 released earlier this year generated a lot of buzz with a new watchOS and growing number of health tracking capabilities. But the latest model, which starts at $399, accounted for only 20 percent of Apple Watch Q3 shipments, according to figures published by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Apple Watch Series 3 currently starts at $279 on the Apple website, about 70 percent of the cost of a Series 4 model.

Basic wearables, like fitness trackers, are cheap and have a number of functions found on pricier smartwatches. That said, their functionality is limited compared to an Apple Watch or even a Fitbit Versa.

Competition from China

Only Chinese brand Xiaomi shipped more wearables (6.9 million) than Apple thanks to the recent debut of the Mi Band 3, which can be found online for around $35.

“Meanwhile, the smartwatch market also evolved during the quarter as the two largest smartwatch brands, Apple and Fitbit, continued to delve deeper into the healthcare market,” IDC’s senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said. “The healthcare market is quickly becoming the next frontier for wearables brands to conquer. With heavy regulation and greater scrutiny, this segment will likely be the one that staves off value brands, allowing the market leaders to further cement their lead.”