Apple still tops growing global smartwatch market

Apple accounts for nearly half the 12 million smartwatches shipped during the second quarter, Strategy Analytics reports.

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Apple Watch has the global smartwatch market in hand.

Érika García/CNET

The global smartwatch market is experiencing what one analyst called "impressive" growth. And Apple is still leading the way, by a wide margin.

Manufacturers shipped 12 million smartwatches during the second quarter of 2019, a 44% increase over the same quarter last year, market analyst Strategy Analytics reported Tuesday. Much of that growth is attributable to consumers increasingly accessorizing their smartphones with fitness-focused wearables, Strategy Analytics said.

Apple retained its market share crown, boosting its size of the pie from 44.4% to 46.4% on 5.7 million units shipped during the quarter.

Apple Watch remains a long way ahead of the chasing pack …[and] has fended off strong competition from hungry rivals like Fitbit ," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "Apple remains the clear smartwatch market leader."

Apple has made a big push into the health and fitness industry, providing more health data to people through its devices, including step-counting on the iPhone and heart-rate tracking on the Apple Watch.

In a January interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook trumpeted the company's efforts in health care.

"This is an area that I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' It will be about health," Cook said.

No. 2 Samsung also recorded impressive market share growth, going from 10.5% to 15.9% on 2 million units shipped. Much of Apple and Samsung's market share growth appears to be at the expense of third-place Fitbit, which saw its share decline from 15.2% to 9.8%.

"Fitbit has struggled to compete with Apple Watch at the higher end of the smartwatch market, while its new Versa Lite model has struggled to take-off at the lower end," Mawston said.

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