Apple Watch is so dominant it shifted the entire smartwatch market with one new product

Apple Watch Ultra and Seiko diver watch
(Image credit: Oliver Haslam / Future)

The 2022 release of the Apple Watch Ultra has made a huge difference to the average selling price of the entire smartwatch market, according to a new report.

While Apple only released the Apple Watch Ultra in the fourth quarter of 2022, it had enough time to boost sales of the smartwatch segment that belongs to wearables costing more than $400. And not by a little bit, either.

According to the report, sales of smartwatches worth more than $400 increased by a whopping 129% compared to the previous year. The only other price point to see growth over 2021 was at the opposite end of the spectrum. Smartwatches costing less than $100 also experienced growth.

Ultra watch, Ultra prices

Graph showing sales of smartwatches at different price points

(Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

The Apple Watch Ultra costs $799 and is almost twice as expensive as the base Apple Watch Series 8. It's accepted to be the best Apple Watch you can buy right now, which helps it carry that price. But it's in a market all of its own given the relatively high price point. And its entry into that price bracket has made huge changes to the market as a result.

Counterpoint Research analyst Woojin Son believes that "Apple strongly drove the average selling price (ASP) rise in the global smartwatch market in 2022, especially in the >$400 price band." They go on to suggest that the Apple Watch Ultra is one reason, but there's also a second to be considered.

"There are two main reasons for this ASP rise – a diversified Apple smartwatch line-up and a rise in the exchange rate," the analyst says. "This year, Apple released its first premium model, Ultra, at a release price of $799 in the US. In addition, as the exchange rate rose, the local price of Apple Watch in various countries changed."

There's little doubt that the Apple Watch Ultra's asking price is the main reason for the huge increase in the sales of >$400 smartwatches, however. Now all eyes will be on Apple to see what it does to continue that trend moving forward.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.