Apple Series 4 was the best-selling model with just one quarter of shipments. Counterpoint’s preliminary assessment that Apple Watch Series 1 was more popular in Q2 2018 was overestimated, as Series 3 actually shipped equally well until the arrival of the redesigned Series 4 in Q4 2018
Top five brands contribute to 70% of the market shipments. Fitbit, Amazfit, and Huawei grew exponentially in 2018
Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego
June 25, 2019
Global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy rate of 41% year-on-year (YoY) in 2018 driven by Apple, imoo, Fitbit, and Samsung, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Tracker.
Commenting on the findings, Counterpoint Research Analyst, Satyajit Sinha, said, “Apple Watch shipments grew a solid 22% YoY in 2018. Apple Watch Series 4 was the star performer. It sold 11.5 million units during 2018, making it the best-selling model for the year. We believe its success was due to its focus on health-related features like ECG and fall detection. Further, it speaks volumes of how far Apple has come with Apple Watch as a meaningful health device.
During our last year’s Q2 2018 preliminary estimates, we overestimated the contribution of Apple Series 1 shipment compared to the Series 3. However, our further supply chain and channel checks revealed the relatively higher contribution of Apple Watch Series 3. As a result, Series 3 becomes the second most popular smartwatch model during 2018 instead of Series 1.”
Sinha, further added, “The overall smartwatch segment is going through a phase of evolution of cellular capabilities, which can make it a true standalone wearable device. Players like Apple, imoo, Samsung, Huawei, Ticwatch, and other kids watch brands were the early adopters. However, Apple and imoo cellular smartwatch contributed to 13% and 10% of 2018 shipments, respectively.”
Exhibit 1: Global Smartwatch Shipments market share by in 2017 vs. 2018 vs. 2019E
Source: Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Tracker
Commenting on other vendors’ performance, Senior Analyst, Sujeong Lim, noted, “Samsung grew exponentially at 90% YoY as the Korean brand’s market share jumped to 9% in 2018. Samsung had a 50% of smartwatch shipments, represented by its Galaxy Watch series launched at the beginning of Q3 2018 with better battery life. The rotating bezel to navigate the UI and a very traditional round clockface design are the most appealing Samsung features for smartwatch consumer.”
Commenting on the Huawei’s smartwatch sales, Counterpoint Senior Analyst, Ethan Qi, added, “Huawei grew exponentially at 129% YoY helping the Chinese brand’s market share grow to 2% in 2018. Banking on its proprietary OS, striking design, and affordability, Huawei is gaining good traction, and we expect Huawei’s smartwatch segment will be its only consumer segment which will see a growth in 2019. We expect growth to be particularly strong in China and South East Asia.”
The top five best-selling smartwatches accounted for 48% of the market in 2018. Three out of the top five models came from Apple. For Fitbit, the launch of the Verse smartwatch was a turning point as the brand was struggling to get a foothold in the market. The other entrant in the top five best-selling models list was imoo’s Z3, a 4G LTE based kids watch. The Z3 is supported by Qualcomm Wear 2100 and is IPX8 water-resistant.
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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high-tech industry.