Verizon Most Helpful to Apple in Smartwatch Distribution


Mar. 26 2018, Updated 9:00 a.m. ET

Watch sales increased more than 50%

The three-month period to December 2017 was the best quarter ever for Apple’s (AAPL) smartwatch business. The company stated that Apple Watch revenue and units increased more than 50% YoY (year-over-year) for the fourth consecutive quarter.

It also said that all its geographic regions registered double-digit increases in watch sales. But Apple didn’t disclose exactly how many Apple Watch units it shipped in the quarter.

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Verizon led carriers in Apple Watch distribution

Counterpoint Research estimates that Apple sold 2.9 million smartwatches in 4Q17 (December quarter), according to FierceWireless. About a third of Apple Watch sales in the quarter were made through the four major US carriers. Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), T-Mobile (TMUS), and Sprint (S) combined distributed 975,000 Apple Watches in 4Q17, which is Apple’s fiscal 1Q18. Of those carriers, Verizon distributed the highest number of Apple Watches in the quarter.

The Apple Watch Series 3, which launched last year, came with built-in cellular capabilities, opening a path for wireless carriers to sell data plans to people who own the device.

With smartphone penetration in the United States cited at 93%, room for growth seems to be limited for carriers in the smartphone market. So smartwatches with wireless capabilities such as the Apple Watch could be a big opportunity for carriers.

Watch segment recorded 36% revenue growth

Apple reports smartwatch sales in its Other Products segment. Revenue for that segment increased 36% YoY to $5.5 billion in the quarter ended December 2017.


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