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Apple shines as global smartwatch shipments grow 35% in Q1 2021: Counterpoint

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Global smartwatch shipments grew 35 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter for the year, suggests a new report by Counterpoint Research. These include basic smartwatches with low-level proprietary OS or RTOS (like from Xiaomi and OPPO), kids smartwatches (like from BBK, Huawei and Vodafone Neo) and high-level smartwatches (like from Apple, Samsung and Garmin).

As shipments went up, Apple maintained its leadership position, recording a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in the demand for the new Apple Watch Series 6 models. Its market share climbed by 3 per cent.

Samsung’s shipments also rose 27 per cent year-on-year, with the popularity of the Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active series. However, the South Korean vendor’s growth was below the market average and the brand witnessed a small dip in its market share, which went from 8.5 per cent to 8 per cent.

Meanwhile, Huawei continued losing market share compared to a strong quarter a year ago with market share numbers dropping from 10.1 per cent to 8.4 per cent.

“Apple was able to further solidify its leadership position in the market by widening the portfolio from Watch SE to Series 6 at the right time. This may drive Samsung to launch a mid-price-tier model to boost growth,” Sujeong Lim, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research said. “Huawei continued to face headwinds because of the declining smartwatch sales and how well Huawei watches are optimised for its smartphones,” Lim added.

Other brands completing the top five companies by market share include Fitbit and BBK holdings.

Software statistics

Apple’s WatchOS captured more than a third of the market with a growing attach rate to its base of billion iPhone users. Meanwhile, Google’s Wear OS has not yet achieved such success in smartwatches. This is because most of the major smartwatch brands have developed and installed their own proprietary OS (like Fitbit OS, Tizen and Garmin OS).

Further, Wear OS has been lacking behind in terms of features, battery optimisation and chipset support. This has limited its share to a mere 4 per cent of the global smartwatch market. However, this trend will change soon considering the Google-Samsung partnership announced at the Google I/O last week.

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