One day away from launching its iPhone 7, Apple has some good news out of Australia.
A new report suggests the Apple Watch has captured more than 50 percent of the smartwatch market in the country, followed by the Samsung Gear and Fitbit Blaze.
That’s after a slow start for the smartwatch category generally. According to technology analysis firm Telsyte, smartwatch sales made up one third of the wearable technology market in the first half of 2016 compared to less than a quarter in early 2015.
Sales of smartwatches grew by 89 percent in the first half of 2016 compared with first half of 2015.
While there was reluctant uptake of the product initially, growth can partially be attributed to the number of apps available, Telsyte Managing Director Foad Fadaghi told Mashable.
“We saw something similar with iPads. The first generation only sold modest numbers,” he said. “Consumers thought of them as large iPods. Then we saw an increasing number of apps that made them useful.”
One particular feature of the Apple Watch that makes it attractive to the Aussie consumer is contactless payments, he suggested. Australians already have a high uptake of contactless payment cards and devices, and the ease of use of Apple Pay on the smartwatch makes it particularly appealing.
The other Australian trend supporting an uptick in the smartwatch market is the explosion of people buying smart fitness bands. “Consumers that are ultra-fitness savvy have graduated in many instances to smartwatches — not just Apple but other devices,” he added.
It’s been well documented that the Apple Watch has not been a killer success for Apple and consumers are still getting comfortable with the idea of electronic wearables.
In the first half of 2016, a little more than one million smart wearable devices were sold in Australia.
“It’s still a modest amount of devices being sold, but substantially more than last year,” Fadaghi said. “It’s still a smaller part of the market — it’s still early days for the whole product category.”
Australia has always proved a solid backer for Apple products, generally being quick adopters of technology with higher levels of disposable income than most other English-speaking countries.
“Australia is a smaller market, and Apple has a higher market share in smartphones here than the U.S., it’s always been considered a fertile ground for Apple,” Fadaghi added. “You’d expected Apple Watch uptake to follow that pattern.”
It’s not all good news for the giant from Cupertino, California. Apple has fallen behind Samsung in smartphone sales, although that company is now facing its own crisis after a number of reports about the Galaxy Note7 exploding while charging.
Android devices accounted for 62 percent of unit sales in the first half of 2016, according to Telsyte.
Apple will be hoping for a bounce from the iPhone 7 launch, as long as people aren’t too made about the rumoured loss of the headphone jack.