The Apple Watch is expected to disrupt the smart watch industry when it arrives in April. New data from the research firm Smartwatch Group suggests it won’t take a lot for Apple’s wearable device to climb to the top.
According to new research (via AppleInsider), just 6.8 million smart watches were sold in 2014, which was an increase of 82 percent year over year. At the same time, the average price per unit fell to $189 from $225 the year before.
The current market leader, unsurprisingly, was Samsung, which sold 1.2 million units from its Gear lineup. This was followed by Pebble, with sales topping 700,000 units. Lenovo’s Moto 360 and LG’s wearable devices rounded out the top four.
In total, Smartwatch Group found that 89 companies from 18 countries sold smart watches last year. An additional 140 companies are working on their own wearable devices, many which will be released in 2015.
What effect will the Apple Watch have on the smart watch market?
Between 5 million and 6 million Apple Watch units are expected to be available at launch to keep up with the expected demand. Assuming that Apple sells every Watch that is produced, first quarter sales are expected to reach levels obtained by the iPad in 2010. Apple sold 7.5 million iPad units during the first quarter of release.
Earlier this month, JP Morgan suggested that 5 percent of iPhone users would buy an Apple Watch during the first year of release. This would translate into sales of 26.3 million units in the first year. Others have suggested that as many as 40 million units could be sold before the year is over.
In other words, Apple could become the dominant player in the smart watch market in as little as a few weeks.
See also: The Pebble Time smart watch launches on Kickstarter, A new round of Apple Watch apps from Clear, Feed Wrangler and more are previewed, and Apple columnist John Gruber offers an interesting new perspective on Apple Watch pricing.