The Holiday season sees demand for otherwise niche products jump each year as consumers go for items that they would normally either not look to as worth their dime or they already have a functional version of. Smartwatches, of course, are one of the biggest examples of this trend. Another time sales of an otherwise largely ignored item surge is when a new version is released, and usually for a good few months afterward. These two overlapping were the perfect storm for both the Apple Watch 2 and the Samsung Gear S3, pitting them head to head and leaving the rest of the smartwatch world in the dust. Naturally, given that it's both a useful and well-made smartwatch and a status symbol, the Apple Watch 2 won the day. This battle was largely inconsequential for Samsung, who will sell more Gear S3 units throughout the year, but the definitive lack of Holiday demand may have been the final nail in Pebble's coffin.
This battle was largely inconsequential for Samsung, who will sell more Gear S3 units throughout the year, but the definitive lack of Holiday demand may have been the final nail in Pebble's coffin. According to data on Pebble's recent exploits, they failed to pierce the 2% mark on the smartwatch market back in the third quarter of 2015, and almost fell below 1% in the same quarter of this year. As if that weren't bad enough, Black Friday was by and large a bust for Pebble, which didn't help at all since they were already on the way out. Rumors swirled about a sale to Fitbit, and those rumors became the brutal truth just recently, leaving backers expecting refunds and current Pebble owners without updates, support, or warranties.
While these figures look pretty bad, they're not enough on their own to argue that Pebble may have had a chance if it weren't for the Apple Watch dropping when it did. Apple CEO Tim Cook's statement that Apple Watch and Apple Watch 2 sales broke previous early Holiday season records for the segment, on the other hand, does a fine job of doing just that. As for the third quarter, the Apple Watch 2 was already doing pretty well with all things considered, with some 1.1 million units moved despite that being a 70% drop from the same period last year. Taken altogether, the case for the Apple Watch preventing Pebble from performing a last-minute recovery is actually pretty strong.