Anchored by the release of the Apple Watch Series 3 — a device which finally introduced cellular connectivity to Apple’s smartwatch lineup — Apple earlier this year disclosed that its wearables business is almost as big as a Fortune 300 company. To put this factoid into context, consider this: revenue from Apple’s wearables division is on pace to surpass revenue from blue-chip companies like Netflix and eBay.
During Apple’s most recent earnings report, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that Apple Watch sales during the recent 2017 holiday quarter were record-breaking. Nonetheless, Apple still refuses to disclose specific sales figures, a position that becomes all the more curious as the device only continues to grow in popularity.
That said, a new research note from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via StreetInsider) claims that Apple Watch shipments this year may increase by as much as 30% year-over-year. As far as specific figures are concerned, Kuo claims that Apple this year may sell as many as 24 million units, up from an estimated 18.5 million units the company sold in 2017.
Beyond that, Kuo anticipates that Apple Watch sales are poised to increase drastically over the next few years. In a best case scenario, Kuo writes that annual Apple Watch unit sales may fall somewhere in the 40-50 million range by 2021.
Kuo’s note reads in part:
We think that once the following requirements are met (within three years), annual shipments of Apple Watch will grow to 40-50mn units: (1) LTE Apple Watch is supported in more countries; (2) besides heartbeat monitoring, more health monitoring functions are added; (3) more FDA approvals are awarded; (4) a more trendy form factor design; and (5) continued lowering of prices for older models.
Specifically, Kuo adds that new Apple Watch models will likely feature improved battery life and a “15% bigger display size.” If true — and Kuo’s track record suggests that it is — this will mark the Apple Watch’s first major redesign since the original model was released.
Beyond that, there have been reports that forthcoming models may incorporate advanced heart-rate monitoring technology. There have even been rumblings that Apple is working on a potential Apple Watch feature that would allow users to take quick EKG and ECG measurements.