Apple Watch shipments tipped to decline by 25% in 2016

Apple is expected to face tougher conditions in the wearable device market in 2016, with an analyst at investment bank KGI Securities forecasting sales of the Apple Watch will fall by at least a quarter year-on-year.

Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple Watch shipments will fall from 10.6 million units in 2015 to under 7.5 million in 2016 because the device is lacking in terms of the applications it offers, its form factor and battery life, and also due to the nascent nature of the broader wearables market, 9to5Mac reported citing a KGI Securities research note.

The news site pointed out that the expected decline in Apple Watch shipments in 2016 would be even more notable because shipments figures for 2015 covered an eight-month period rather than the full year.

Kuo predicted that an updated Apple Watch will be unveiled in the third quarter, and would offer improvements in terms of connectivity and battery life. However, the analyst said the new device will not offer a new form factor, and suggested Apple may only see demand for its wearable improve when it brings a newly designed product to market in 2017, 9to5Mac added.

Ramon Llamas, research manager for the wearables team at IDC, in February stated that continued innovation and development will be key factors in growing shipments in the broader wearable devices sector. "The market can only get so far with 'me too' and 'copycat' wearable devices," he said.

IDC noted that Apple Watch shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015 grew "only slightly" over the third quarter, despite the vendor growing its distribution channels and offering holiday-period promotions in the final three months of the year. The research company said Apple was the third-placed vendor over the full year, with shipments of 11.6 million units in 2015 giving it a 14.9 per cent share of the market.

Apple-focused news site Cult of Mac last year proclaimed Kuo as the "best Apple analyst on the planet" in an article, noting that the analyst's predictions on Apple products have proven very reliable in recent years, with more hits than misses in terms of detailing new products and the timing of their launches.

For more:
- see this 9to5Mac report
- view this Cult of Mac article

Related articles:
Juniper Research: Apple's entry into NFC signalled end to operator ambitions
Swatch CEO says company remains focused on mainstream smart watch market
IDC: Global wearable device sales fuelled by Apple Watch, fitness trackers in Q4 2015
Strategy Analytics: Smart watch shipments overtake Swiss watches in Q4 2015
Juniper Research: Apple dominated 2015 smart watch market

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